“Cheer up” is the line of some of the most arrogant and stupid people on Earth. Yes, it is meant as encouragement. Yes, it is meant as sound advice to make your world brighter. Yes, they have good intentions when they say it. And yes, they haven’t thought it through, empathised with your situation or remembered that time when they were feeling down and resented the idiot that said it to them.
A Facebook newsfeed is filled with many updates but one of the most annoying things is the uplifting quote, extracted from a fridge magnet or a quote book found in a hairdressing salon, posted by some chirpy fool who think it is their responsibility to cheer everyone up. Sure, there is nothing wrong with being happy. It is great to be happy. Who wouldn't want to be happy? You know who? The people who have the sense to know that happiness should be based on something, not in spite of things, and they are not happy with how things are. Some will foolishly tell you that happiness is a choice. It is but not in total isolation, where you completely ignore your circumstances. People say you can be happy in any situation but that is utter folly. As the Black Plague swept the nation, I don’t think people thought “Well, things could be worse.” Now I am not saying that people are in a situation that drastic but to tell people that they should “cheer up” is not taking their circumstances into account. It is arrogantly assuming that their situation is not nearly as bad or unjust as it really is. Such short sighted judgement is unfair, no matter how you try to justify it.
By saying this, I am not suggesting that there aren't people out there who are worse off. At my lowest ebb, there are still people in a worse situation than me. People who are dying, starving, alone, afraid and miserable for whatever reason. Happiness should never be based on comparison. Happiness should be based on the merit of an individual’s situation. It is about having a life that rewards you for the effort you put in. If you do a job and get paid a decent wage, you tend to be happy in that job. You feel like your efforts are appreciated and remunerated in a satisfactory manner, leaving you happy about the situation. This is genuine happiness, not enforced happiness.
Forcing yourself to be happy by only looking at the good and disregarding the bad is an act of ignorance. This is why people who tell you to “cheer up” are stupid. They seem to think that you should play stupid to your situation. The reality is that the forefront idea of their action is to snap you out of your sadness but the reality that they are unaware of is it is just a subtle coercion. They will deny it but how would they know? They are happy because they ignore certain details, including any supposed negativity on their part. Ironically, their actions tend to have the opposite effect, demeaning the person to whom they give advice by compounding their misery with an insinuation that they are being pathetic for not liking their situation.
“Cheer up” does not drag the sulker out of their sullen mood. It does not solve the ills and injustices they have faced. It just tells them that they have burdens, that they will have to just live with them and the ideal course of action would be to sweep them under the metaphorical rug. That is no way to clean a house or a soul.
But they absolute worst thing about the “Cheer up” crew is the fact that they are usually the ones who enjoy a privileged and blessed life. Things have tended to go their way. The fed up don’t begrudge them that if it is warranted but to stand on higher ground and then to have the temerity to tell those of us who aren't so lucky to stand up taller is sickening. Don’t patronise us. You got lucky, nothing more. People worked harder than you and got less. Those stupid “cheer up” style quotes tend to come from successful people. Fools think that means that those who maintain this “happy come-what-may” attitude are always successful. It is a lie. It is just we don’t want to hear the quotes of the happy failures. Their opinion undermines the farcical notion that being forcibly happy means a better life.
When someone is down, they don’t need to hear “Cheer up”. They need to hear “ I'm here if you need me”. They don’t need orders, they need support. The sanctimonious tell people what to do, true friends help you with what you want to do. They are the people who bring about real happiness in this world and they do that by gaining the fallen’s trust, rather than preaching via a social network. Preaching to the masses is merely the act of someone trying to validate their own fallacy. Ministering to the one is the act of he who changes the world for the better and at no point do they say “Cheer up” because they are not stupid or arrogant. They remember what it is like to be on the lower ground and to be talked down to.
So the next time you see someone who is down, whether it be the first time or a career sulker, don’t think that telling them to “cheer up” is sound advice. It isn't It is just another thing that is keeping them on the lower ground of grumpiness.