Here Is Why You Should Not Pursue Happiness … And Here Is What You Should Do Instead
Many of us make happiness a priority in our life. But as Beauty and Tips reveals in this article, pursuing happiness is a dead end. Instead, we’ll offer up an alternative that makes much more sense.
It’s deeply ingrained into our culture that we should pursue happiness. Ask a hundred people what they want most out of life, and there is a high chance that many of them say they want to be happy.
On first sight, it would appear to argue with them. We’re all taught from a young age that happiness is akin to spiritual Nirvana. Once you’re happy, life suddenly makes a lot of sense. You’re blissful, content, and have everything you ever wanted.
Unfortunately, research, science and past experiences don’t justify the hype. The reality is that trying to be happy causes unhappiness, and few of us ever reach perpetual happiness. We might feel happy for a few moments, but it doesn’t last. Instead, we’re stuck on a journey that’s frustrating us and beating us down at every turn.
“But come on, Beauty and Tips!” we hear you say. “Who wouldn’t want to be happy? Happiness is such a positive emotion. It makes us feel like we can do anything! Once you’re happy, everything else falls into place.”
A lot of evidence is, of course, stacked up in favour of being happy. You’re right to say that happiness is such a positive, feel good emotion. It definitely makes us feel invincible, and as though we can achieve anything.
But this article is about the pursuit of happiness. It’s about the chase – a chase that is often too much for many of us. We start well, bursting out of the traps like a thoroughbred. But then life gets in the way, and we get knocked off the track. We end up on the sidelines, battered, bruised and disillusioned. Still we keep chasing, hungry, thirsty, older and none the wiser.
Self-help gurus self books on how to be happy. They remind us that happiness is the Holy Grail of the modern world. They talk about dopamine’s and serotonin, and sell us the idea that life isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if we’re not happy.
The reality is very different.
Here are a few more reasons why pursuing happiness is a bad idea:
We Pursue It In The Wrong Places
Where do we look for happiness? We look for it in the things we know will make us happy: A big house, a nice car, a better smartphone, more shoes, a new coat et cetera.
However, these are the wrong places to look for happiness.
Our pursuit for happiness has gone hand in hand with the rise of consumption and our obsession with materialism. The idea is that the more stuff we have, the happier we will be.
But happiness must come from within, not from without.
It Can Make You Less Happy
Sounds kinda messed up that chasing happiness can actually make you less happy, huh?
That wasn’t supposed to happen!
The problem is that happiness is a long-term goal for many people. Moreover, because we look for it in the wrong places, we don’t don’t enjoy the journey.
And because we’re so focused on that long term journey, we don’t always appreciate the present moment.
Happiness happens when you stop chasing it. Happiness is all around you every day. Take great pleasure in the details and the moments.
Here is what you should do instead of pursuing happiness:
Remember That You’re So Lucky To Even Be A Life
It was something like a trillion to one chance that you would be born a human being. With that kind of knowledge in mind, how is it possible to be sad ever again?
A lot of people forget that life is a remarkable gift. Every single day there is opportunity to try something new, to achieve, to do, to be. There are people to meet, things to discover and see.
Life is short and it’s fragile. You’re not here long before the ride is over. So why spend so much time chasing an abstract happiness? Why deny yourself to the chance to be happy unless you live in a certain house in a certain part of the world have X amount of dollars in your back account?
Too many of us wait for everything to be perfect until we allow ourselves to be happy. Forget chasing happiness and live your life the way you want to. Enjoy every single moment.
Are you truly grateful for all that you have at the moment? Do you appreciate the fact that you have your health, friends, family, a career, and so on?
Are you grateful that you get to wake up each morning and see the sunrise, before watching it set beautifully again at night? Do you appreciate all the sights, smells and wonders of nature? Are you grateful that you weren’t born in a war-torn country?
Too many of us are so intent on chasing an impossible happiness in the future that rests on so many conditions that we forget to be grateful for what we already have.
Spend some time writing down a list of all the things you should be grateful for. Then, each day, remind yourself of these things.
Let Your Hair Down And Have Some Fun
Instead of waiting for the “right moment” to celebrate, have some fun now. Don’t wait for the perfect job, or the perfect vacation, or the perfect home before you allow yourself to let loose and be happy. Take great joy in life this moment. Have some fun. Don’t take life so seriously. It’s too short to do that. Unleash your inner child again. Let off some steam. Laugh, dance, and release. Smile, take the pressure off. Stop dwelling on the things you don’t have. Take some time off work if you need to and let your hair down.
Do you have tips on how to become happy?