I have this theory that happiness is a very bad goal for us.
Maybe we’re here on the planet for however many decades we make it, to learn something and to survive it, but not to necessarily be happy. And, actually, that we’ve decided that happiness is the proof that we’re properly personing, might be the cruelest obstacle we face.
It’s really hard to live, no matter who you are, or how you live. Even if you have all the trappings of happiness- all the resources, success, and love in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy as often as you think you should be. And just because you don’t have those things, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be.
Look at the glimpse into wealthy celebrity lives that we get through entertainment news and their own personal social media accounts; there’s a lot of unhappy. They’re beautiful and wealthy and popular…and discontented. They don’t feel not alone, just because they have all the shiny things of life. They’re escaping into the things we all do- substances and shopping and self-obsession and relationships, etc.
Then there are those people who seem to lack all those things, even their very health, and seem, at least from the outside, very happy. I’m thinking of the cheerful person with the chemo baldness or the marathon runner with one leg, helping another runner cross the finish line.
I mean…WHAT? Have they unlocked a secret code? Is it struggle, sacrifice, living simply that buys happiness, if money and California sun can’t do it?
Or is happiness elusive and fleeting and not a guarantee for anyone?
I’m thinking we drop the goal of happiness and seek other goals like personal growth, truth, and kindness. Maybe finding and maintaining perspective or working our way through our loneliness, and assisting others through theirs, is what we should aim for. Perhaps seeking more moments of human connection, finding safety and security in our own heads, living honestly and boldly, are more realistic and honorable goals than ‘happiness.’
Also, it’s very uncomfortable to be fighting with 9/10 of my emotions all the time. I’d estimate that “happy” is about one tenth of the feelings I have on a given day. I don’t want to reject all the other emotions. It feels wrong, and it doesn’t work. I want to better understand them, to express them, to evaluate and paint with them. They’re all me, and they’re all OK.
It may seem like a funny time for me to decry happiness since we just got back from Disney World, the Happiest Place on Earth.
Incidentally, I was very happy while I was there, but only because I was peaceful. From the last time I went, 2 years ago (#spoiled) to this time, I have found a more calm, safe place in myself, and this trip was infinitely more pleasurable as a result. Where last time, I had much anxiety over managing the kids and the grown-ups and making sure everyone was HAPPY the whole time, this time I just took care of my own little corner of it and let people have their own time. We went slower and if any of us, kids or adults, needed a moment to have a feeling that wasn’t HAPPY, we let them have it. It was grand.
Consequently, in this peace, and not on a mad dash for happiness, I had better, more intimate conversations with my family members, and genuinely stress-free (maybe not that. Maybe stress-less) time with my kids.
It was magical.
So, I hope you have a…day and that life brings you all the…stuff.