2018 / July 2018

I’m only happy when it rains … I’m only happy when it’s complicated

Only Happy When it Rains by Garbage

Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash

I don’t often get to say this, but at the time of writing, rain isn’t something we’ve seen much of recently. So, thankfully, unlike the narrator of this ironically upbeat 1995 indie anthem, Only Happy When it Rains by Garbage, I can find happiness with or without the rain.

In literature, rain has something of a symbolic quality. Often portrayed, as in this song, as a pouring down of misery or sadness. Yet, as those who have experienced the despair of drought can testify, rain is also life giving and a necessary part of life.

Reflecting on this metaphorical aspect of rain it suggests something about our own experience of life too. Whilst we don’t need to go as far as to say we’re only happy when it rains, rain does provide us with an opportunity to grow. Indeed, it could be considered as nourishing our emotional maturity as if rain symbolises difficulties and struggle, it is often through these experiences that we grow resilience.

So how do we go about embracing the rain we experience in life for the potential growth it brings? It strikes me that there are two things we can focus on. First, acknowledging that as we experience difficulties, or even failure, we need to listen and reflect on what we can learn from the experience. Often as we react to the circumstance we miss the more significant lessons which speak to the weaknesses in our own personality. We can choose to take these difficult experiences as opportunities to learn about our self and to mature.

Second, if we were only to experience rain, we would be overwhelmed with a flood. We need both sun and rain, light and dark in our experiences, if we are to grow in a heathy way. This reminds me of the hope that is symbolised when the sun and rain are combined to reflect a rainbow. Likewise, when experience difficult times, we need to look for the positives that are also happening, so we too can begin to feel a sense of hope for change in our life.

Returning to our song lyrics, perhaps this is the reason we can “feel so good to feel so sad” as we could be on the cusp of greater self-awareness and maturity.

Only Happy When it Rains is taken from Garbage’s self titled album Garbage:


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