The Myth of Happiness

I think there is this myth of happiness going around. It’s becoming more terrifying than what Zeus has been known for, and that’s saying something.  “Once this happens, I’ll be happy.” Or once I find this person or live in this place or work this job. This myth that you will be happy, 24/7, for the rest of your life, no matter what comes your way, smile all day and night long, without ever feeling any bad emotion in your body ever again, is cramping our style. And cramping the human condition.

When I think of happiness, I think of lightning shooting down my spine and a thunder of laughter. I think of my heart filling to the brim, about to explode. It’s such a wonderful feeling, but I would be exhausted if I felt it all day, everyday, for the rest of my life. My smile would be sore and each moment wouldn’t be as powerful as the last. I wouldn’t feel human. I wouldn’t feel like I was growing. I would have the best six-pack abs of all time from all that laughter then that might make me happy. Right?

When I feel the most vulnerable, I cry or shut down completely and feel like I can’t breathe. I don’t burst out with thunderous laughter, but rather there’s a mini thunderstorm that stays within me. It’s a Stage 4 hurricane. However, feeling this vulnerable means I am facing something uncomfortable. It means I am trying, and sometimes failing, which doesn’t exactly make me happy. Does that mean it isn’t good? Does that mean that my feelings of sadness or grief aren’t as important as my moments of happiness?

You can be positive. You can be optimistic. You can radiate light even on the cloudy days. But happiness is an emotion, not a state of mind. It’s one wonderful emotion we all got addicted to and think we should be feeling nonstop. If we didn’t have the other emotions, we wouldn’t know how wonderful happiness feels. You can, and hopefully do have, the good emotions outweigh the bad, but don’t discredit the bad. Understand the bad to make the good better.

Being content with your life choices and yourself helps, but don’t expect to be happy about everything. Give yourself some leniency to be human. Give yourself some credit for being a sensitive, emotional and strong individual who works through sadness and anger and grief.

Because if you can feel sadness at full-force, you can feel happiness at full-force, and both are extremely important.

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