Good News: Happiness Does Not Exist
Because we are human beings who endure suffering.
Stay with me, this is not an Emo post, I promise.
There is an incredible amount of hype driving the pursuit of happiness train at the moment. Everywhere I look I see‘Happiness Events’ being advertised with their pretty and whimsical designs luring people in with a whisper and a promise of life with a happy ever after. Then there are the ‘Happiness Ambassadors‘ spreading their shine and glee amongst us. What a tough freaking gig that would be! Does it come with a case of Pinot Grigio? it should.
Happiness is Bullshit.
I know this because I have spent an awful lot of time being unhappy especially these past two years. Let’s face it there is so much suffering not only in the world but in our own everyday lives. People are dying, someone has lost their job, kids are going hungry, some are all alone and have absolutely no-one. Let’s tell these people who are truly suffering that happiness is a choice.
Why is there this constant expectation that we should all be happy?
In my opinion, it’s purely a cunning marketing ploy – buy my product, attend my workshop, pay me money and I will set you free. Yes, I’m a little cynical and I admit to skipping large portions of Eat Pray Love so I guess I failedHappiness 101 right there and then. The Dalai Lama’s ‘Art of Happiness’ made much more sense to me, so much so that I bought copies for all my friends that Christmas. I thought I had nailed it there for a while. I even booked a solo trip to India to travel to the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala to hear him speak, a special moment in time I will never forget. Whilst the Buddhists may have achieved a higher state of inner peace and enlightenment they have also acknowledged the important role that suffering plays out in our lives.
Happiness exists when suffering is absent.
Suffering does not have to be in the form of death, gloom and doom. For me, it’s running 10 minutes late in the mornings, missing a run from my training plan, the stress of feeling like a single mum some of the time because my husband has to work long hours and 6 days per week to provide for everyone and most importantly, missing my teenage son so badly it causes me physical pain.
Happiness is not a permanent state of mind so why do we expect it to be? Happiness is a fleeting state that can be gone within minutes or linger for a week but as much as we want it too, it doesn’t stick around for long.
Think about it, when are you happiest?
For me, it’s often simple things like my daughter’s bright blue eyes smiling back at me, or slipping into my bed with fresh sheets at the end of a long day, to an unexpected ‘I love you’ from my husband or to sit and watch a storm roll in. Yes, materialistic items also bring me pleasure and happiness – planning a trip, buying a new pair of running shoes or getting a massage, all these things make me happy.
Happiness is different for everybody. What makes me happy certainly might not make you happy.
When I finally accepted that I did not need to achieve the desired end goal of happiness I felt lighter instantly. Finally, I can go back to being a miserable cow! I’m kidding. Now when I find myself feeling happy, I relish it and treasure it because I know it is intangible and comes with its own expiry date.
Breathe that happiness right in, never take it for granted.
The search for happiness may sound like the magical cure for some, but it distracted me from my true focus – that I needed to make small steps to manage the stress and anxiety in my life better.
Lessen the suffering.
Remember: when suffering is absent, happiness exists.
Buy the books and attend the workshops and you may find happiness, I hope you do. If you find that happiness and it was short-lived then dig a little deeper and debate the real truth – what is making you unhappy?