If you try to be happy, then you will never be happy, if you try to be cool, then that will never happen, one of the problems we re facing today is that individuals are simply trying too hard.
Most emotions are things that one cannot obtain, happiness is one of them, when you are pissed and throwing a wrench at your neighbour’s kids, you are not self conscious about what you are feeling at that particular moment, you are not thinking to yourself “Am I Angry?, am I doing this right?”. No these thoughts do not cross your mind because you are angry, you inhabit that anger and live it. You are anger and then it goes.
Just as an angry man as stated above does not wonder of he is angry or not, so a happy man does not wonder if he is happy. He simply is. What these analogies imply is that Happiness is not something that just happens all of a sudden out of nowhere. It is as a result of a particular set of ongoing events or life experiences. This is quite confusing these days especially when Happiness is being thought of as a goal to achieve in and of itself, buy X and be happy, learn Z and be happy. But No matter how hard one tries you simply can’t buy or achieve happiness. It just is – once other parts of your love is in order.
Positivity Is Not Happiness
You may know an individual who appears to be happy all the time, regardless of the circumstances or situation they are always insanely happy. Now what we should understand is that these type of people might be one of the most dysfunctional people you know whereby they constantly deny negative emotions giving the idea that they are happy all the time. Denying negative emotions leads to deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and this ultimately leads to emotional instability.
Negative emotions such as Sadness, Regret, Depression are totally logical. It’s a simple reality: shit happens. Mistakes are made, people upset us, things go wrong and these negative emotions arise. And its fine. Negative emotions are essential for maintaining a stable and healthy baseline for happiness in the life of an individual.
There are certain tricks one could take in dealing with negative emotions;
- Express them in a way that aligns with your values.
- Express them in a socially acceptable and healthy manner
A typical example one of my values is to be non violent, so therefore when infuriated by someone I will get mad but I will make a point not to punch them in the face which is no doubt an amazing idea. A lot of people would subscribed their mind to “always be positive” ideology. These people should be avoided just as someone who thinks the world is an endless pile of shit. If an individual’s standard of happiness is to be happy all the time, no matter then such a person needs to have a reality check.
I think part of this obsessive positivity is the manner in which we are persuaded. It could be as a result of seeing people who are supposedly happy and smiley all the time on the TV for a prolonged time. Or it could be as a result of the people who are offering help who constantly impose the mentality on us that there is something that is always wrong with us.
Or it could just be that we are lazy and want the result without actually putting in the hard work that us needed.
Do Not Lower Your Expectation to Be Happy
One of the popular reasons why people are unhappy is because we are all having this self inflated idea of one’s own importance or worth and grew up with the idea that we are unique and special in our own way and only us can change the world into the world we desire, and various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc., are constantly telling us how amazing other people’s lives are and how ours is so crappy, and this has us feeling unhappy and wondering where we took a wrong turn in our lives. But people should give their selves far more credit than that.
For example an individual started a high risk business venture, and as a result dried up most of his capital including his savings all to make it work but it’s all in futility as the business eventually fails. He is happier than ever because of his experience because he as a result was taught valuable lessons what he wanted and what he didn’t want in life and is today loving his current job and he today looks back and is extremely proud that he ventured into the business, if not he would have been in a state of disarray, doubting himself all his life and that would have made him unhappier than any failure could.
What we should understand is the failure to meet an expectation is not a deterrent to ones happiness and also that the ability to fail and have a heart of gratitude of appreciating the experience is simply a building block to happiness.
If your expectation was to make hundreds of thousands of dollars straight out of college and buy a Lamborghini then your standard for happiness and success were superficial and skewed. Your pleasure for happiness was confusing and as a result the painful smack of reality on your face will be no doubt be one of the best life lessons you will ever get.
Having a low expectation should also not be a choice because the idea of happiness comes from having less or little, the joy of life is not having a low salary but working to get to the salary you want and then working hard and harder to get to a higher salary.
My advice to individuals should be to raise your expectation and elongate your process. Look back at your long list of to do list and the endless opportunities you were privileged to have. Create ridiculously impossible standards for yourself and then savour the inevitable failure, learn from it, live it, let the ground crack and rocks crumble around you, because that is the only way something amazing grows, through the cracks.
Pleasure, Not Happiness
People sometimes chase after pleasure with the idea that once they do feel this pleasure they will finally be happy. They chase after good food, more time for TV, more time for friends, more sex, new cars, fame, losing weight etc.
Pleasure us no doubt great but it is not the same thing as Happiness. Pleasure correlates with Happiness but it does not cause it. Ask an adulterer who destroyed his family is the pleasure he felt ultimately led to happiness, Ask a person who almost died as a result of eating how happy pursuing pleasure actually made him feel, Ask struggling drug addict how their pursuit of pleasure turned out.
Its been proven that people end up more emotionally unstable, less happy, and anxious at the end when they focus their energy in superficial and materialistic pleasure. Pleasure is what’s marketed to us, what we have our minds fixed on, what we numb and distract ourselves with. Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and is hence the easiest. But pleasure while necessary can never be sufficient. So what exactly can make an individual happy.
Happiness Is the Process of Transforming Into the Person Your’E Meant to Be
Little achievements in life can make us very happy. Starting a small business with family and friends and struggling to make money makes us happier than buying a new car, Raising a child makes us much happier than eating chocolate cake, Running and Winning a marathon makes us more elated than finishing a video game.
These activities and task are very unpleasant some even rigorous and we sometimes set very high goals which we fail to meet. Yet these moments give so much meaning to our lives at the end they involve despair, struggle, anger and in most cases pain, yet at the end of it all we look back with so much joy in our hearts and tears in our eyes.
Why do we feel this way?
Because these tasks and activities mould, transform is into who were actually supposed to be in life, it’s the constant and continuous pursuit to become our ideal selves that gives us undeniable happiness and joy, regardless of emotions, pleasures or pain. This is probably why some people are happy at work and sad at parties, Happy at Wars and sad at weddings. This is because the traits or characters they are exhibiting is not correlating with who they really are.
Not in all cases does the end reflect who we really are. It’s not the prestige and money of the new business that makes us happy its struggling with the ones you love in order to achieve the goals and overcoming the odds, it’s not winning the marathon that brings us joy it’s achieving the tedious long term goals that we’ve set our hearts to, it’s not having an amazing child that you can show off that makes us happy, its the fact that you gave up part of your live to put into the growth of human being that is special.
And this is the reason why most people end up unhappy even despite trying so hard to be happy. Because trying to be happy does not align with the qualities or traits of who you really are, because you’re not inhabiting your real self. By the way when you are doing what you love or being who you ate happiness should just come. Happiness is not inside you, happiness only comes when you purse what’s inside of you, when you pursue what you heart calls to.
No matter where you are In life there is always that extra things that you can do to be more happy, that is why most people set out major life goals for themselves and when they do achieve them find out that they still feel the same way they felt before, they feel like happiness is right around the corner waiting for them. And this is why happiness is so fleeting.
That thing waiting around the corner is our ideal self, just waiting for us. When we do fulfil a goal we should look to another, once we fulfil that one we should look to another and another and another. What matters isn’t that we achieve these goals but that were constantly moving towards them everyday, every month, every year. These goals will come and go and we’ll keep following what our heart desires.
If you’re happy you should keep doing what you’re doing as you can’t go wrong with that, but if you’re not happy, you have to make the choice if you do want to be happy, if not then there’s no way anyone can help you, but if yes then you should change something perhaps a habit or something that may seem insignificant as changing that little thing might tip you to being a little bit happier than you were before.
And with that in regard to finding happiness it seems the best advice is to imagine who you want to be what your heart calls to and to walk towards it. Dream big, set bigger goals and act towards it, Anything. The simple act of moving towards it will change how you feels about the entire process and serve to inspire you further. Let us stop imagining fantasies, its simply not necessary, these are simply things to get you up and doing. It doesn’t matter if it works or not. Live your life, Live. Stop trying so hard to be happy and just be.