Why It's OK Not To Be Happy All Of The Time

Hannah Burton/Bustle

There are some things people tend to accept as universal truths without any questions, and one is that everyone wants to be as happy as possible. But I learned at a young age that this actually wasn't true for me. It's OK not to be happy, and what's more important to me is developing awareness of how I'm truly feeling, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant.

"If our goal is to be happy all of the time, then we block ourselves from vital elements of the human experience that help us grow," practicing psychologist and Harvard lecturer Holly Parker, PhD, author of If We're Together, Why Do I Feel So Alone?, tells Bustle.

"Unpleasant emotions such as sadness, fear, and anger certainly aren’t fun to feel," she says. "Yet they’re a lot like pain receptors in our body — they offer important information about a situation we’re facing and are worth paying attention to rather than ignoring. For instance, without sadness, you wouldn’t feel a meaningful loss (e.g., 'My friend just died? Oh well'), or be motivated to address a challenge in life ("I have no sense of purpose or direction in my life. That’s okay”). And we’d never take risks and venture outside our comfort zone, because that opens the door to discomfort and negative feelings."

Here are a few reasons it's totally OK and even beneficial to have your ups and downs.