There’s much more to life than expecting to be happy all the time.
The pressure is on to have a happy life. The message is if you don’t have ongoing happiness then you need to pursue it.
You need to find your purpose, change your job, get a new partner, move locations—do something, anything, to find the happiness your missing.
It doesn’t work that way.
A never-ending happy life is unattainable. There is no such thing.
Let me explain. A never-ending happy life is unattainable.
Happiness is a pseudo-emotional state of being that has no singular definition. It is an enigma. It means different things to different people. We cannot achieve a state of happiness without understanding what it looks like.
Yet we’re bombarded with the idea of pursuing happiness. The concept is supported by a mega industry. Yet for all the books, seminars, modalities etc. to finding a happy life, there seem to be very few people succeeding.
My evidence is this; if there were a single, simple method to a happy life, the happy life industry wouldn’t exist.
Yet you get the message that you need to ‘be happy’ all the time. Why would you want that? Imagine people walking around with a robotic smirk on their face, nodding and saying ‘Don’t worry, it’s all going to work out.’ While in reality, someone close to you has died, your partner and you are going thru a rough patch, and your investments lost 30% of their value overnight.
Life isn’t only about being happy.
Life is about experiences, all of them: the good, bad, the ugly and the amazing.
I want to experience all the emotions that come bubbling up inside of me. I didn’t quit alcohol, porn, TV, and career dependencies to walk around in a state of forced euphoria. ‘Fake it till you make it’? Not for me. I’ve already done that. For much of my life, I was perpetually ‘faking it’, hoping things would get better.
If I want to check out from life, to live in some naïve state of happiness, I would return to indulging in mind-numbing habitual behaviors.
I was checking out of reality when I was engaged in those behaviors. I was in denial of my own pain. I didn’t fully acknowledge other’s pain. I never truly appreciated the good times. Often, I was going thru the motions.
The ‘pursuit of happiness’ gives us a false sense of the ‘nirvana that awaits us’. It is unachievable. We are ultimately going to fail in that quest. It is disappointment waiting to happen.
When I was ‘all-in’ pursing happiness, and I’d have a bad day, I’d be frustrated with myself. I’d ask, ‘Why can’t I just be happy? All the experts say it can be done.’ I might have done yoga, gone for a run, had a rest, yet none of it worked. I thought that I was incapable of achieving the dream of life-long happiness.
I believed I was a failure.
No more. I refuse to give in to the feelings of inadequacy. I refuse to seek the unattainable. Instead, I choose to embrace life, all of it, and experience it to it’s fullest.
I want to feel the pain, anguish, empathy, compassion, sadness, loneliness, anger, joy, and ecstasy. I choose to ride the roller coaster of life.
Life is messy. You’re not really living if you’re not feeling it fully. Let go of the pursuit of happiness. It’s wasting your time and will disappoint you in the end.
Live life to it’s fullest, all of it. Don’t diminish the downs, because then you also diminish the ups.
It’s takes courage to truly experience life. Embrace it. Relish it. Cry your heart out, and laugh till you cry. Be angry, and be at peace.
Photo: Flickr/Peter Zuco
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