How to be happy

Why the pursuit of happiness is making you unhappy


Happiness is the holy grail of life – always has been, always will be. It’s talked about, written about, defined and explored, yet still puzzling, remarkable and relevant. We all want it, but do we know what we’re really looking for? How universal is happiness? It’s not a destination, it’s not a thing, it’s a feeling. We feel happy when a certain condition is fulfilled, and boy do we have a lot of those. It depends on so much. That’s why it’s almost impossible to feel happy all the time. It comes from what we have – either we feel happy about it or we don’t. Now, who is in charge of our feelings? Who controls them? It should be us, right? 

It should be so easy to feel happy – we just decide to be. It’s the best feeling in the world, it’s what makes life worth living. So, we just decide to smile, and simply create our own happiness, right? Wrong. It’s not that easy. If it were, thousands of life coaches and gurus would be jobless. The world we live in is so consumed with defining happiness, so we can “always be happy”, but also realizes happiness cannot be universally defined, so it creates symbols. Symbols that tell us: “This is what should make you happy. When you have this, you should be happy. When you don’t, you should feel unhappy.” These symbols are social recognition, popularity online and offline, money, power, success, friends, beauty, the list goes on and on. 

This is why constantly feeling happy becomes impossible – there will always be something missing in your life. There will always be something missing to remind you that you actually shouldn’t feel happy, and go for it all. Social media is a great reminder of that. No. Let this be a reminder that happiness is completely individual. 

Want proof? Has it ever happened to you to meet another person that exudes happiness yet they have less than you (subjectively speaking)? For example, they are not universally beautiful, they have a worse job than you, maybe a few other problems that you don’t have – yet you find yourself being jealous of them? You are jealous because despite missing these “symbols” and conditions of happiness, they are happier than you. They love their life and themselves despite their problems, they just feel happy, and you wonder how. It’s because they refused to condition their happiness by outside influences.

Pursuit of happiness is a Sisyphean task. It is a task that will never feel done, that will never feel completed. The only thing that you will feel throughout this pursuit is the feeling of failure. The feeling like you are not good enough and that your life is not good enough. Also, this task is meaningless – since happiness is not a clear objective. If you tie your happiness to a condition that you’ve created or were given by society, whenever it is not fulfilled, you will feel incomplete or unable to feel happy. 

So, how to really feel happy all the time?

Imagine being on your death bed thinking about all the times you should have been happy and all the things you wished you enjoyed at the time but didn’t because you were focused on the things that were missing. Where the whole time the only thing you WERE missing were the moments of your own life. Not a single moment of your life will repeat and one day you will have no moments left. Only when you truly understand and accept that – will you be able to feel happy much easier and much more often. 

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