Happiness… probably the greatest scam ever sold to the general public. We are taught growing up that happiness is the goal of life. We are taught that happiness is the solution to all problems and that each and every person can find it for him or herself.
Imagine that -- every person, no matter how rich or how poor, can be happy. It’s religion all over again; be good, do good things and even you can be happy. You can be saved and live in bliss (in this case, for the rest of your life -- in the case of religion, for all eternity).
There are several things every single person in the world -- give or take -- seems to fail to realize. There are things about the concept of happiness itself that are almost contradictory -- or at least, there are things in our understanding of happiness that are contradictory.
Although we are raised to believe that happiness is the goal, we are also raised to fail in ever really achieving it.
The first thing we are taught that throws us off track completely is that in order for you to be happy, you can’t have problems; things need to be perfect.
You may be thinking to yourself, "No one ever taught me that. I know that things will never be entirely perfect." Yes, you are right. things will never be entirely perfect, you will always have problems -- I’m glad you understand that.
So why is it you aren’t happy right now? Why is it that, although you seem to understand that having problems is an essential part of life and that perfection is an impossibility, you’re still unhappy?
You see, although you understand having problems is inevitable, you nevertheless allow those problems to make you unhappy. You allow the things, which you know you shouldn’t allow to get to you, get to you. You allow your problems -- basically life itself -- to bring you down.
The fact is that from this moment on, until the day you die, you will always have some sort of problem, issue or urge that needs attending. Human beings are designed in such a way.
Your life right now is just about as perfect as it will ever be -- give or take a few key individuals who may be missing and some material things of little to no intrinsic value.
The main issue with our concept of happiness is that we believe it to be a goal, rather than a state of being.
Happiness isn’t a goal. There is no pot at the end of the rainbow -- this is it. When you reach the end of the road, you reach the end of the road. At that point, what does it matter if you’re happy or not when your life is coming to an end?
Do you honestly plan on chasing happiness for the entirety of your life, only in hopes of reaching that elusive "reward" sometime before you kick the bucket? You do realize that the only thing you’re chasing is the end, don’t you?
Being happy isn’t an end-goal. It’s a state of being. To be honest, that’s not even a great definition.
Happiness, if anything, is a transitional state -- that period of joy/bliss that we feel when we are transitioning from a worse, or less appreciated, point in our lives to a slightly better, or more appreciated, point in our lives.
Being happy, contrary to whatever you’ve been taught, does not last. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a fool or a con artist.
Lastly, happiness should never be the goal -- focusing on the physical world is the only thing of any actual value.
You will have moments in your life when you will be ecstatic. You will have moments when you will be joyful and hopeful. You will have moments when you will be smiling for no reason at all.
These are all great moments in a person’s life -- moments that ought to be cherished.
You will also have moments when you will be unhappy, miserable, heartbroken. You will find yourself at the bottom of a ditch at least once in your life, unable to figure out a way to make it back out.
You will be scared, sad, angry, frustrated, stressed. As a whole, your life will be filled with more pain than it will be filled with happiness -- something that you ought to learn to accept.
We have a contradictory understanding of happiness. We believe we need to be happy in order to be happy, when at the same time, being happy makes continuing to be happy just about impossible.
Happiness is nothing more than an increased positive state of being -- one that exists thanks to the constantly changing states of our lives and perceptions.
It is the difference between the way our lives, or the perception of our lives, was a moment ago compared to the way it is now. In other words, happiness requires a positive change in your state of being. In order to become happy, you have to be unhappy.
This means that in order to be forever happy, you need to forever be increasing your state in a positive manner -- your life would have to be getting better and better all the time.
Something that no one will argue as a possibility. The truth is that being happy makes being unhappy a guarantee.
Once you’re happy, you accept it as a state of being. Once that’s your base level, any changes either increase that happiness or, the more likely case, decrease it. As you can’t avoid bad or unpleasant things happening to you, you’re fighting a battle you can’t win.
What you ought to be aiming for is contentedness. Being content as your go-to emotional base level makes the little positive things in your life seem more positive and the unpleasant things a bit less unpleasant.
You have to stop looking for that next high and learn to live for reasons outside of self-indulgence -- because that’s all that happiness really is.
I’m afraid that you can’t, and won’t be, happy forever. However, forever isn’t the goal. Just be happily content with the life you have now and I promise you that as long as you have your priorities straight and stay hungry for greatness, your life will get better.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It