While not all trauma survivors are fortunate to have emotional support, many of those who do, find that there is often a time limit, or a “patience limit,” attached to the support. Sooner or later comments like “why can’t you just get over it” or “why can’t you just be happy” serve to invalidate the survivor’s persistent and present pain. Sometimes it is the survivor her/himself that loses patience the fastest and thinks chastising thoughts like “I should be stronger” or “Other people go through worse things” or “I should be over this by now” or “why do I let this continue to affect me so much?”
No one consciously chooses to be unhappy. You came into this world seeking love and pleasure. Your natural state is to gravitate toward happiness. But life has laid down layer upon layer of little “t” traumas and big “T” traumas that have obscured and/or obliterated that once clear, felt sense of happiness. By giving yourself the gift of therapy you are making the conscious choice to work through the core negative beliefs you hold about yourself and others, the defenses that you have built up to survive, and the coping strategies that may have worked in the past but now don’t serve you well. You can (re)discover emotional and physical resources that you can access as challenges inevitably arise. You can learn to be kind to yourself vs. being your harshest critic.
So when someone says “Why Can’t You Just Be Happy?” you have a choice to make. You can put a false smile on your face and “white knuckle” your way through your days. Or, you can bravely face the aftereffects of adversity and find your way back to the authentic you. The place where a smile really does reflect true happiness.
If you need Trauma Therapy please call Shari Brickin, MA. MFTI at 310.467.6473