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Make Happy

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Hello, person who is reading this!

As you may have already noticed, the title of this journal is named after Bo Burnham’s comedy special “Make Happy”. I watched it for the first time a few weeks ago and was oddly inspired by it. I really want to try to get happy, and that is primarily what my journey to self-actualization has been about. I started getting serious with self-help after a severe panic attack in February. For me, it was a personal record of hitting rock bottom. Since then, I have been spending more and more time seeking truth, learning about/trying to challenge my ego, and trying to love/forgive myself.

Since childhood, I have been battling clinical, chronic depression. I often feel hopeless, lonely, and struggle with thoughts of suicide. I also have some social anxiety and issues with perfectionism. I have a long way to go. Still, I think I have been making (very) slow but steady progress with my inner work. I’m here for the same reasons as probably most of the others on this forum. Self-help and enlightenment are hard topics to seriously talk about with the people in my life. Many of the ideas that go along with these topics aren’t yet understood or even acceptable in the mainstream. Though I realize this life is mine alone to fight for, it is nice to have a support network and some guidance along the way. Maybe I’ll even be able to help others.

This will be an all-purpose journal, but I will primarily try to post entries on the self-improvement and awareness exercises I’m doing. In documenting my ups and downs, I will be as brutally honest as possible. I, like most others, usually filter out the bad parts of my life online by omitting certain information. However, I will try to include the good, bad, ugly, tragic, and comedic in my own writing here as I try to “make happy” for myself. So, here we go.



I really wanna try to get happy
And I think that I could get it if I didn't always
Panic every time I'm unhappy like
I'm owed some life
Where I'm always, like, happy
Which is stupid 'cause I wouldn't even want it if I got it
Wait, oh god, my dad was right


– zenjen

Edited by zenjen

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+1 for Bo Burnham, I look up to this kid a lot. 


"Haha, guess there's a Slim Shady in all of us. Fuck it, let's all stand up." - The Real Slim Shady

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I will treat this as part one of finishing this worksheet because these answers alone took me quite awhile to think through and I have other stuff to do today. If you are brave enough to read the whole thing I would appreciate any feedback.

Part 1 – Dropping The Roles You Play – Worksheet:

What are the top 3 roles you play?

1.     The shy girl

2.     The artist

3.     The try-hard

4.     The quirky/strange/outcast

5.     The victim

6.     Perfectionist

I found this question as being tough to narrow down because I really have no idea of how others label me besides shy. I can only attest to the roles I think I’m trying to play. I think I come off very, very differently depending on the situation around others, so in a way, I play tons of roles. I’d like to be more authentic but I lack confidence in myself. In my own mind, I’m often playing the victim, but it’s not a role that I act out in front of others because I try to cover it up by acting cold.  I chose the top 3 because I think they cause me the most problems, but I might come back and do the other 3 later.

What are all the specific ways you act out each role?

1. The shy girl ­–

  • I don’t speak up or say much, even if I want to.
  • I sit quietly and do my work for a long time without bothering to interact with others.
  • When people talk to me I often don’t have much to say. I don’t reveal much personal information in conversations.
  • I don’t often initiate conversations. I wait until others initiate conversations (specifically with me) to start talking.
  • I will go out of my way to avoid interaction with people.

2. The quirky/strange/outcast  ­–

  • Sometimes I purposely try to go against the grain and be different. I try to be unique.
  • I will isolate myself rather than try to conform to a group where I am not totally comfortable.
  • I am resistant to labeling myself.
  • I do not want to be defined, pigeonholed, stereotyped, or put in a box by others.
  • I have an aversion to the mainstream culture and mindsets (this has actually alleviated quite a bit over the years though, but that’s possibly because I don’t want to be defined as a “hipster” either).
  • I want to be seen as special.
  • I don't feel like I fit in anywhere.

3. The victim  ­–

  • I blame situations and sometimes people for my negative emotions.
  • I feel I have been wronged in life/by others.
  • I feel as if I have terrible luck.
  • I assume the worst possible outcome of every situation will be the most likely one to happen.
  • My automatic reaction is to see the worst possible intentions in people.
  • I feel powerless in a lot of situations.

How did you acquire each role? What traumatic event(s) – if any – created the need for each role?

1. The shy girl ­–

This one started extremely early on and I believe it came on initially as peers started labeling me that way. I remember a plenty of times when I didn’t think I was being shy and I was asked, “why don’t you ever talk?” “why are you so shy?” and those questions genuinely surprised me, and then they made me sad. It got me thinking about what is wrong with me. I thought I was just chilling, being content. I was unaware people assumed there is something wrong with me for not talking.

I remember in the fourth grade, my mom had told me that my teacher was concerned that I wasn’t talking enough and interacting with the other kids. I reacted angrily to this, something like, “What?! She yells at the class all the time to stop talking! Now I did something wrong by not talking?! How do I win?” I thought it was outrageous and hypocritical that my teacher would say that. I was a sensitive and I didn’t want to be chastised in front of my peers by the teacher for talking. That happened to many other kids and sometimes the whole class on a near daily basis, so I just didn’t talk. A teacher in high school did the same thing and told my mom I’m not social enough at parent-teacher conferences, and I was pissed off for the same reason. You want me to be social in class and you literally yell and kick people out of class for talking, even whispering? Maybe it was part of me that had always been quiet (not actually shy, just quiet), and part of me that was trying hard to be a good girl and follow the rules to avoid criticism or embarrassment.

2. The quirky/strange/outcast ­–

I think this one might have started when I heard kids at a young age making fun of people for having certain stereotypical behaviors and realized that virtually anyone could be stereotyped for any little reason. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed, so I went against any stereotype in any way I knew how. This led me to become a hipster and an outcast.

At a younger age, early middle school, I purposely stopped sitting with the “popular kids” because I realized no one in that social circle really gave a shit about each other. They only cared about their status of hanging out with one or two of the very popular kids in particular. I thought, “If they actually care about me, they will come back or ask me why I left,” & they didn’t, so I never went back. The thing is, when I moved to sit with an unpopular/nerdy crowd I didn’t find much more of a connection there either (even though they were generally nicer kids). This is when I truly felt like a lone wolf or an outcast. I don’t think I have ever met someone else who willingly gave up popularity at such a young age, kids usually have the opposite problem of trying to climb the social ladder. If anyone else has a similar experience with this I’d love to hear about it.

I adopted the thinking that popular = mean + competitive + shallow, self-absorbed narcissist bitch and I wanted to distance myself as far away as possible from that. In my early high school years, I took up quirky hobbies just to distance myself from the popular culture, which I thought was stupid and vain. I took up guitar, saxophone, long boarding, & listened to indie music, which went against the popular girl culture at my school (around 2010). Then the word “hipster” was popularized to describe this type of faux uniqueness, and I took a step back to re-evaluate whether the mainstream was actually evil & I found it wasn’t as inherently bad as I thought. I even enjoy listening to top 40 radio (wow!). I still have difficulty connecting with people though. I tend to feel like a misfit or an outcast, even when I am trying to fit in.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 3.24.38 PM.png

^ Basically me in high school


3. The victim ­–

This mentality could have started with the way my mother treated me from the earliest times I can remember. Every time my fragile emotions were hurt as a child she would take my side and be there to say “poor baby”, hug me, & give me a lot of attention and sympathy. I love my mom, but this wasn’t an effective way to prepare me for the world. In reality, it might have been better that she just told me to suck it up and toughen up, or offer realistic advice, instead of being constantly sympathetic. When I was bullied, when I was abused, when I was fighting with friends or just sad for no reason she always had that same poor baby response to me. I loved it, I felt like it validated and justified my feelings. It was as if she was just as convinced the world was out to get me as I was.


Edited by zenjen

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It's amazing that you posted this! I started my "journey" because of Bo's 'Make Happy' also!! 

I watched it for the first time, a little over a year ago, and it completely changed the way I thought about life- for so many reasons. I wonder if he knows the actual impact that 'Make Happy' had on a lot of us (assuming we aren't the only ones). Not only did he give out that temporary -instant- happiness from his silliness and jokes, but he added a depth to it that completely woke me up. I've always been "self-conscious", but I never truly considered the fact that the things around me actually played a huge roll in how I viewed myself and life in general. I was especially unaware of certain things that could impact my "long-term" because I've been stuck on autopilot for so long. So in a way, 'Make Happy' provided me with long term happiness. It made me question things a lot more than I was before, and that's where self-improvement starts.

I love how you went about figuring out what aspects of yourself are truly yours. I was also the shy kid or -as others would say- "mute" in school. It wasn't so much the fear of talking, it was because I just didn't find it necessary. Like you were saying; I thought I was just content, pretty much minding my own business and trying to get my stuff done- hoping that school would go by faster. It is kind of crazy how much not talking actually irks people.

The friends that I somehow made in school were of different "cliques", and a couple of them were of the popular crowd. They were kind of like where you were with it all- I assume- because they slowly started spending less and less time with that crowd. Which I think is great! If you realize that these people you spend your time with don't share the same values as you; what's the purpose?

Did you make the worksheet yourself or did you find it somewhere? I enjoy reading the progress of others and especially if they are similar to my own- like yours! Keep it up! :)



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@JannaBanana Thank you! I'm glad that I'm getting such a good response with the Bo Burnham reference. I think his shows are awesome. Even though I don't watch much stand up comedy I was blown away when I saw "Make Happy" because it was so unlike anything I've seen. I wasn't expecting it to be deep and make a point (and have catchy songs). I think that he was willing to be vulnerable helped a lot of people connect with his show.

I wonder why some people are so uncomfortable with quiet people, too. Maybe they just don't understand and that frustrates them. But, it reflects issues with that person and not you or me.

You can download the worksheet from Leo's video "Dropping The Roles You Play" here

If you want to do the worksheet too, I can get back to you when I'm finished with mine & we can compare insights :)



Edited by zenjen

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I completely agree! He's definitely not the typical comedian, which is awesome. Have you seen/heard any of his older stuff?

Thank you, I will definitely download that and try it out. I'd love to share thoughts! It's always nice talking with people who share the same goals. :D


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Emotional healing/Self Reflection

Your deepest innermost desire/secret: you want to place all of the love you should have for yourself in someone or something else

The truth you would rather not face: it's all okay, all of it, yep 👍🏼 even the misplacement of your love ❤️ 

Admit defeat over your desires and you'll know true peace, keep having them and your life will make certain situations seem catastrophic when they are actually not (at all!)

You fear what you desire most because you've totally forgotten what it felt like to be like a child, and now you think your innermost desires must somehow be evil. The good news, they are, in fact, not! Only suppressing your desire to truly love yourself creates 'evil'. It's not as serious as you think.

Edited by zenjen

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