Happiness doesn’t exist—not in the ways most people think of it.
There are many opinions of happiness out there, inaccurately portrayed by the media, advertisers, celebrities and other influential people and sources in our lives.
Big companies and marketers of all backgrounds prey upon these myths to get you to spend money in your continuous quest for the elusive state of happiness. The misleading epidemic is worsened by the masses of people who unknowingly fall prey and perpetuate the trend.
Of course there are true examples of happiness out there too. But most moments of happiness aren’t glamorous, big events.
Happiness usually occurs in small, transitory moments.
There are seven myths of happiness that often block our ability to reach true happiness. I’ve fallen for these myths in my past, and even with awareness, it is an ongoing practice of reminders and intentional choices. The first myth is what provides the underlying misunderstanding and constant pursuit of happiness.
Myth 1: Happiness is a must
We’ve been brainwashed to believe many wrong things about happiness—the first one being that happiness is the only way to be. It’s drilled into our culture; it’s a pressure starting from childhood and reinforced into adulthood that we must be happy all the time.”Happiness must” is what marketers prey on by showing ads with beautiful, successful people with a certain brand of clothing or luxury vehicle. Many of us think that if we’re not happy, then there’s something wrong with us and it’s something we need to work towards.
It’s okay not to be happy all the time.
Unhappiness is not a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s a needed, instrumental spur for awareness, learning, growth and change.
It’s a sign that something isn’t quite right, a sign we need to change something in our lives.
We’re shunning an essential part of the journey with the unhealthy focus on happiness. In any journey, there are good and bad parts. Both extremes and everything in between are all important parts of the overall process. Suffering in all its forms is unavoidable. It is a part of life, just like there are moments of joy, laughter and satisfaction.
The greatest change and growth in my life have come from moments of extreme unhappiness, fear and challenges.
The intensity is an indication of the importance of whatever is to be overcome in your process. While in process, I try my best to remind myself that even in the worst moments there is usually something to be learned in every situation. I’ve never regretted any of my lowest moments because I knew they were necessary to get me to where I am today.
There is worthiness in pursuing happiness, but it is not realistic or healthy to be happy 100% of the time.
Let’s not put undue pressure and shame around happiness. There is enough to worry about already—we don’t need additional unhappiness about being unhappy!
What have your experiences been with this myth of “happiness must”? Stay tuned for the second myth next week and others in the weeks to come!