Happiness as a survival trait

This is not going to be one of those sappy posts that tells you to respond to threats of violence and erasure with love and positivity. First, I’m not going to tell you how you should respond to the bustedness of the current situation; second, I don’t think that “positivity” is necessarily the best response; third, it would be utterly hypocritical, since one of my own most immediate responses to what happened has been to start re-learning the use of (legal, physical, nonmetaphorical) weapons.

But I am going to echo the words of radical organizer Saul Alinsky: ““Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!” is an absurd ralling cry when the other side has all the guns.”

I am not going to tell you it’s going to be okay. I am not going to tell you to calm down. I am not going to tell you I have even some of the answers. I just have a simple thing to point out:

Every day you survive is a day when you have struck back against those who want to see you disappear.

Every day you can find some happiness, some joy, some moment of pleasure is a day when you have increased your actual health through, among other things, the relief of a little bit of stress, pressure, and pain. We’re human; we store the stresses of our minds in our bodies, and the stresses of our bodies become physical injuries.

The smallest, silliest, most insignificant things, the tiniest pleasures, the most foolish joys matter very much right now. Find them. Claim them. Use them to remind yourself that joy is still real.

I’m not telling this to teach it to you; I’m saying it out loud because I need to teach it to myself. But I hope it helps remind you that it’s not only okay to seek happiness when and where you can, but an actual act of conscious resistance to do so.

I don’t know how to help with big things. But I am using this small thing for myself. I hope that it helps a few others, as well.

~Jeff Mach,

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