Forget 'The American Dream': The Key To Happiness Isn't In Our Pockets

One night as I was lying down to sleep, I couldn’t help but allow my brain to wander aimlessly: I hope the car is fixed. I have to make my student loan payment tomorrow. Will this contract fall through? When will my dad decide to talk to me?

I am 24 and make a little money here and there. I am not rich and, in fact, my loans make me a slave to society. Sometimes, life sucks. It really, really sucks. It feels like an endless, excruciating bout of turmoil, financial stress and, of course, the ever-evasive pursuit of happiness. But what really is “happiness” anyway?

Is it fame?

Is it fortune?

Or is it just an intangible, loose term that means something different to every individual?

Oftentimes, when someone considers the idea of happiness, it becomes a comparison to other people who are either more or less fortunate — it’s bullsh*t. Consider these happiness tips:


A positive attitude can go along way, but it's tough when you’re constantly faced with negativity. So, remove yourself from potentially negative situations. Don’t get into that Facebook feud, don’t get mad at your parents or friends over something minute and if you’re single, don’t fret! By avoiding the negativity, you allow yourself to steer clear of minor obstacles that preclude you from positivity.


Accept that you can’t change all of the constraints that already exist in your life. Accept that as a human, negativity will still enter your life. Take solace in the fact that every person navigates adversity. Through accepting these truths, you will inevitably grow.


Pop culture and media continuously inundate us with evidence that we’re far from the Kardashians; we don’t have a ton of money; we can’t take expensive trips to remote islands; we can’t drive that million-dollar car. But why envy someone else’s life when yours is just as precious? Appreciate everything in your life. Just like acceptance, when you appreciate what and who you have around you, you enable yourself to grow exponentially.

While contemplating this concept, I realized how much I do take for granted and how grateful I am for my family. I am happy that the few friends I have would take the time to sit and talk whenever I am in need. And as I rolled over in my bed to put my arm around my girlfriend, I realized how lucky I am to have someone who loves and respects me, despite my flaws. Life can suck, but it’s all about perspective.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to other people and embrace what the late, great Dr. Seuss once said:  “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

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