Happiness: An Unattainable Goal?

‘I’ll be happy once I shed those extra few pounds’

‘I’m sure I’ll feel so much happier once I buy those shoes’ 

If there is an upside to Insomnia, it is the amount of night thinking one does. I’ve always considered myself a night owl, as soon as the day is coming to an end my inspiration level hits the roof and I can write late night rants such as the one I want to write about today- well, tonight. I have been thinking a lot about happiness and its absence. Have you ever thought about why you do the things you do and what you expect in return for doing them?

Since we live in a society which is constantly promoting and selling the notion that happiness is the end goal, it is difficult to view things with a clear perspective. ‘Why am I not happy?’ ‘Am I broken?’ Is there something inherently wrong with who I am?’ It is so incredibly easy to answer all these questions in a way that convinces us that there is in fact something deeply faulty in our personalities. It is simple to fall deeply into this rabbit hole. However, we must realise that there is a disturbing problem with this way of living, because if we do the things we do in order to be or become happy and in the end we do not achieve that ‘over the moon’ happy state of mind or if we simply realise that we still need to do more in order to be happy, then we either become completely disillusioned about life or we become obsessed with the pursuit of happiness.

It seems rather silly to base our lives on this very real and intense chase of such an elusive and ephemeral emotion. We aren’t meant to always be happy, to always get what we want and we don’t always get what we deserve- and that’s okay. Life’s beauty resides in harmony and balance, with the occasional fluctuations of ecstasy as well as sorrow. It is necessary that we focus on gratifying experiences, which touch other people’s lives. We must seek to thrive in compassion, empathy, community and love and embrace those values along with all the good and not so good that comes with each. Life should not be about this fabricated and packaged notion that happiness is the end game.

In the end, ‘true’, lasting happiness (the one we must really strive for) is one of the many complex side effects which result from living at peace with ourselves, while respecting and accepting those who surround us as we accept ourselves. We must accept that happiness is ultimately composed of many elements and that those elements are the real stars of the show.

-M

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