Everyone should have a good life, full of joy and happiness. Being happy is fun. No wonder we try to increase the feeling of happiness—it’s like a drug. We are constantly looking for ways to become happier. We are obsessed with happiness, mindfulness, stoicism, or anything else that results in living the ‘good life’. But there is one problem with the pursuit of happiness—similar to every obsession, being obsessed about happiness causes emotional pain. Happiness is noteverything.
So what’s the real problem?
What’s the source of this mass unhappiness?
Why are we all running around trying so hard to “get” happy?
Could it be that our frantic pace is indeed what’s causing to our lack of joy?
Could it be that we’re all looking for answers in the wrong places?
NOT MEETING STANDARDS
Whitman claims, we are unhappy when we perceive a distance between our standards for the world (and our place within it) and the realities we encounter. To make matters worse, we live in a materialistic world where emotional rewards are tied to
material things. But in reality, what people really want when they go after such materialistic things is the attention and respect — nay, the love — that are given to those who have those fancy things.What if you fail in such a world?
Nowadays we’re told our societies are meritocracies, places where rewards go to those who“earn” them: the hardworking and clever people.It sounds lovely — but it’s not as great as you think. Why? Because if you really believe in a society where those at the top deserve to be there, that means that those at the bottom deserve to be there, too.
UNREALISTIC BEDTIME STORIES
Your parents constantly told you that you could become anything, as long as you worked hard enough. So starting at a very early age, your expectations for your future were sky high. In many cases, unreasonably so. This false sense of self importance ,as if the world owes us something, often leaves us dissatisfied. So even though you were told from day one that you were special, for some reason you don’t feel very special, which is why you’re unhappy right now.
Boredom becomes dangerous when we treat it as something to avoid at all costs, and go to great lengths to stay in an unhealthy state of excitement.We are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more afraid of boredom.We have come to know, that boredom is not part of the natural lot of man, but can be avoided by a sufficiently vigorous pursuit of excitement.
This fatigue accumulates from the rush hour commute, dealing with the moods of bosses and coworkers and the anxieties of keeping your job. Little by little, these daily frustrations build up and wear on your nerves. Most moderns lead a nerve-racking life and are continually too tired to be capable of enjoymentwithout the help of drugs or prescription relaxants.
SOCIAL MEDIA FUELED ENVY
We experience FOMO, jealousy and unflattering comparisons whenever we open an app. Modern civilization has made the human heart more prone to hatred than friendship. Is that true today? Data shows that we might be recoiling and retreating from each other. Researcher Danah Boyd outlined examples and reasons why America is self-segregating, and that includes social media! The constant act of putting up a facade for the general public, makes one exaggerate the difference between their social media persona and their reality.
FEAR OF PUBLIC OPINION
Everyone today — religious or not — has endless opportunity to feel guilt and shame.
- There’s fat shaming and skinny shaming.
- Slut shaming and public shaming.
- There’s guilt for working too many hours, and guilt for not working enough hours.
- There’s guilt and shame for giving your kids not enough attention, or for being a helicopter
There’s no shortage of opportunities to feel like you’re not living up to the standards of society.
Living in a pluralistic society means that we’re free to believe what we want to believe.But one
may hide your true beliefs or fear the tyranny of public opinion.
To answer that question, we have to go on a journey—accompanied by our emotions, both positive and negative. We have nothing to lose by showing how we feel, even when we feel bad.
In fact, we have more to gain from negativity. Even though happiness is something good, we should not sacrifice everything just to be ‘happy’.
Without all the different emotions, life would be boring.Using ‘hacks’ or other ways to create artificial happiness is like cheating—it’s the struggle that makes the victory taste extra sweet.
After all, it’s the low’s that make the highs worth living for!
Writtem by: Abrish Sukhera