Monday, 21 March 2016

Thoughts on happiness

A lot of people have similar ideas on what happiness is: A high earning job, material possessions, a partner, a house, sex, children. There are people who have all of the above and are still miserable, which got me thinking, what does happiness look like, and is it actually achievable?

Happiness is different to different people, and yet its ingrained in us from an early age that happiness is marriage, children, lots of money (I blame you Disney)

but it isn't just the media, its instilled in us from parents and friends, you'll hear people say things like:

"Oh I really need to be married by the time I'm 30"

"I want to be earning 40,000 in the next two years"

Money and love can definitely give you comfort, but I truly think happiness has to come from within, you can't rely on outside sources to make you happy. It's good to be ambitious and its even better to go after what you want, but will these things make you happy? or have you just subscribed to the societal consensus that these things must make you happy because everyone does them.

Confident people often look the happiest and I think I know why, confident people genuinely like and believe in themselves, they are happy with who they are. Most people aren't, and its no wonder with all the mixed messages out there about confidence.

"Be more confident! be yourself!"

"Oh god look at them they are so arrogant!"

In what you might call the 'selfie generation' there has been rising concerns about narcissism of the youth, but I don't think its that at all. I think of all the wasted effort that goes into picking the right lighting, composition, angle, filter, blah blah blah all so that you can feel adored for 5 minutes by people you don't even know. People who post a lot of selfies and hope to get a thousand likes on those pictures are usually looking for validation, this is not narcissism its insecurity. If they get a certain amount of likes they may feel happy for a while, but putting your happiness in the hands of the anonymous public is never a wise thing to do. Its much better to put out a selfie and not care what people think of it, that's confidence, and I believe confidence leads to happiness a lot faster; and its more sustainable.

Happiness is an elevated state, it shouldn't be a constant one. If you go searching for a constant state of elevation, well, to use an extreme example, that's how harmful habits form such as alcoholism, drug abuse, sex addiction, etc. We should be striving for moments of joy, not a life of constant joy because really, if life were a constant high how would we ever appreciate it? There is a reason pain exists, you cannot have good without bad. Happiness is a state of mind, its being content and grateful, no matter what happens, which is hard, but no one ever said it would be easy.

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