We have this strange notion we must always be happy or our lives won’t be successful or meaningful. Think about that for moment. How many times in a normal day do you get angry, or sad, or bored to the point of being restless? Do these feelings mean your life is off the rails? Of course not. We are all human. And the beautiful thing about being human is how we have such a variety of emotions to feel. If all we ever felt was happiness we would lose perspective on just how great that happiness really is. In fact, life would become bland and uneventful.
You can’t always be happy for the same reason you can’t always be horny; it’ll wreck your life. Walking around with a perpetual boner or wet panties would be awful for everyone. No, you need sadness, anger, and boredom to appreciate when things are going great. If we were always happy we’d miss out on a lot of important life lessons our other emotions teach us. Imagine how boring movies, TV shows, and books would be if the content was nothing but happy people doing happy people shit. Who the hell wants to watch a show about a happily married couple painting their living room?
Let’s talk about the real point of this article, though; the fallacy of needing happiness to live a successful life. Some people chase happiness like it’s the most important aspect to living. They need the perfect relationship with the perfect house and the perfect kids or their life is a meaningless failure. It makes you wonder, is this all for appearance? Do these people need to portray the allusion of happiness so others will envy them—thus bringing meaning to their shallow existence? It’s a very bizarre concept when you look at it in those terms.
Most of us think we need to be happy, but what we are really searching for is contentment. We want to reach a point in life where we are content with what we have: like a decent job, nice residence, healthy social and personal life, and a feeling that things are alright. This doesn’t mean you should settle for the bare minimum in life. But it does mean you should figure out when you’ve “won” and anything you gain after that point in life is just a nice bonus.
It’s unfortunate, but we happen to live in a “more, more, more” culture. We are always told you need more than what you have. You should spend more, earn more, have more, and be more. Why? Is having more than your neighbor really going to bring your life a sense of fulfillment? Does becoming materialistically wealthy bring about true happiness? Or is it better to live comfortably and stop chasing “more” so you can settle back and enjoy what you already have? I’m going with the latter.
Now, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your life. If you want a mansion and fancy cars, go for it. Just don’t trick yourself into thinking those things will add to your quality of life in a spiritual or personal way. You can’t fill the void within yourself with material objects or the envy emanating from others. There’s a deeper meaning to life that no object or admiration of others can touch. And only you can find out what that meaning is.
We all live very different lives. What makes me happy might make you miserable. For instance, the idea of having kids—sacrificing my time and changing a never ending conveyor belt of shitty diapers—sends chills down my spine. I would be absolutely miserable. But for some of you, that’s exactly where your meaning in life resides. Having kids might be the best thing for you. And that’s great. But remember, what’s good for you might not be good for someone else. So don’t judge the decisions of others so harshly.
When it comes down to it, happiness is a state of mind and a state of life. It’s not something that can ever be maintained indefinitely. Your joy will always end. Something bad will always come up. That’s just life. If you’re lucky, you’ll be happier more often than not, but don’t count on it. Instead, learn to embrace all moments of life. Find the beauty in sadness. See what you can learn about yourself when you’re angry. Really take the time to figure out what makes you, you.
Chasing happiness blinds you to the other aspects of yourself. If you’re so focused on being happy that you lose track of the other things that make up your life, you’ll become a one=dimensional person. You won’t properly learn how to react in times of sadness or anger. You won’t know how to handle crisis because you spent all of your time trying to be happy. And because you spent so much time trying to be happy you never let it occur to you what would happen if you took a misstep and became unhappy with your life. In essence, if you try to force happiness you’re much more likely to fail and became much unhappier than you ever thought possible. This is because you created such high expectations for yourself and your life that you’ll never be able to reach them. You’ll always fail.
What you should focus on instead of happiness is everything else in your life. Just let things flow naturally and focus on your goals. If you continue making the right decisions and living the way you want, happiness will eventually come. Only, it will be real happiness. Not some made-up, for appearance only, fake happiness to appease some falsely instilled cookie-cutter idea of what life should be like.
Attaining happiness isn’t really that hard. It’s definitely not some mythological state of being people make it out to be. Real happiness is simply understanding your place in the world, surrounding yourself with the right people, and reaching a state in life where you feel content. You don’t need to become rich, find some grand fairy-tale romance, or live the way other people do. Just create a life that suits you. If you do that, happiness will chase you down. Not the other way around.
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