Disclaimer: This is an unedited post with multiple disjointed thoughts made by me in my current state of delusion
I was thinking late last night, as I lay awake knowing sleep was not going to come easy, about happiness and about our perception of happiness. We all say we want to be happy. We do things and be with people who are supposed to make us happy. We find help and take pills to achieve some conditioned level of happiness that society says we should be at. As I was laying there I wondered if you can ever achieve happiness.
I know you are probably thinking I have lost my mind, which is probably true, but hear me out. I think many of us think of happiness as a destination. We think of it as something to be earned or achieved. Once we have happiness it is ours to lose. We have finally got it. Then we see other people and we notice how happy they are in their life. The social media portraying droves of happy people. All of a sudden we are sitting outside “Happyville” we wonder where it went and why we can’t get there. We ask ourselves why doesn’t our lives look or feel like those? We eventually figure it is because we have haven’t achieved happiness.
Unfortunately, I think chasing happiness is a fruitless pursuit. You will never catch it. You will never reach Happyville. For some of you, I am now confirming your suspicions that I am crazy. You believe you are happy. You think you have reached Happyville. Well, I am glad you believe you have made it. If you don’t mind would you please pass along the Kool-aid or whatever you are drinking. Then again if you have read a lot of my blog you could probably recognize that my grasp on abstract ideas and feelings is not very good. So bear with me.
So why can’t you make it to Happyville? Why doesn’t it exist? I believe this is rooted in the concept of happiness itself. If you think about the things that make you happy, how many of those things are concrete things. How many of them are things that are easily explained or identifiable? I would bet that there are not many of those things and the few that you can think of are not long lasting. When you were a kid how many presents did you receive that made you truly happy? How many did you think would make you happy if you got them only to realize later that it was only a brief moment of happiness?
I know I am asking a lot of questions without explaining a lot but it is because I am not very experienced in this area. Here is what I am thinking happiness is: It is not a destination but a journey. It is the path that you choose everyday. It is the environment you put yourself in because it creates an atmosphere of happiness. It is the things you do everyday and how you perceive them. Happiness is us striving to achieve. If you are striving to be happy and suddenly find yourself happy can you stop doing the work that got you there. Or was the work you did to become happy actually what made you feel that way? Is the journey more important than the destination?
Lets look at this in the context of a relationship. When we are alone and looking for friends, lovers, and people to surround us, do we focus on them or ourselves. I am sure it is a little of both but I bet we spend most of the time looking at ourselves. We try and make ourselves more attractive to potential mates. We make ourselves more likable to people whom we want to become friends. We focus on making us better. Yet, when we get those relationships do we continue to put in the same effort? I doubt it. So we stop making the effort that got us the things which made us “happy”.
Where does this get us? It gets us looking around wondering why everyone else is so much happier than we are. Why does her husband still treat her like they are first dating? Why does she still flirt with him and carry herself like she is in the first weeks of a relationship even though they have been married for years. Why can’t we be like that? Why because happiness is in the journey. It is in the chase, the excitement knowing you are always on someone’s mind. The fleeting illicit thoughts of what happened the night before. It is in the decision not to be content with what you have but to continue to chase what you have always wanted. Even when she is with you the entire way. Happiness is something that the more you look for the less you will have because you only see what you are missing.
I think I am afraid to be happy because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens. – Charlie Brown