Stop Chasing Happiness and Start Enjoying Little Things in Life
If you are restlessly chasing happiness, you are likely to be stuck in the long-haul, for happiness really resides in the little things in life we often forget to cherish.
Since we are little, we are told how big things were to be done in order to be happy. Get good grades, complete your education, find a decent job, get married at a suitable age, birth your own babies, strive for a successful career and you’ll be happy. But in reality, you still find yourself complaining about life and yet chasing happiness, even after having achieved it all. Terrible, isn’t it!
When I think about it, it always makes me feel insecure about myself. That how I had never been enough, and perhaps will never be enough. And, it is unsettling to feel that way. It is overwhelming to realize that even after going through so much (the good and the bad) in the process of becoming “happy”, I still do not really feel happy, and that the chase never seems to end.
When something bothers me, I introspect. Thinking about why I don’t feel enough, I often ask myself “What actually makes me happy?” And the answer I always get is nowhere near to good grades, education, a better job or a life partner. Perhaps, the very idea of “happiness” I have been pursuing till now was never the true way to find happiness.
The Myths About Happiness You Believed To Be True
Our surroundings hugely impact our idea of happiness since we are little. That’s what we call ‘conditioning’. We, often, blindly keep believing in what we have been conditioned to until it stops resonating with what our soul really seeks. And then, the conflict between the outer world and the inner world begins, leaving us all confused and frustrated.
We grow up with certain conceptions/misconceptions that surely encourage the pursuit of happiness, but certainly in the wrong places. Here are some of those common misconceptions.
Myth 1: Pleasure Equals Happiness
Our surroundings implicitly teaches us how pleasure leads to happiness. And so we often believe that notion. The idea of earning big money, living a lavish lifestyle, getting fame, success and other material possessions give us pleasure, makes us feel better, so we tend to chase more of them. But does this chase really make us happy? In fact, the more we run towards pleasure, the more unhappy we feel!
Pleasure and happiness may seem to be the same, but there is a fine line between both of them. The basic difference is that pleasure comes with ‘taking’ and happiness comes from ‘giving’. Materialistic pleasure might give us happiness but not for a long term. To understand the distinction between happiness and pleasure, observe how pleasure can only be derived outside of you while happiness lies within you. When you start seeking happiness in things, objects, situations and people, you are chasing ‘pleasure’ and not ‘happiness’. Too much pleasure often points towards increased materialism, which is consistently associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and emptiness.
Myth 2: Happiness Comes from Fulfilling Expectations
Let’s recall how getting good grades, completing education, finding a decent job, and reaching the zenith of success couldn’t make us happy. While you made it up to all of it, isn’t it something that you were told or expected to do, either by society or even you? To many people, these expectations do not even give even a little bit of joy as these goals never really align with what their soul really seeks. At the end, when you’d done it all, the moment was short-lived, and so it brought you joy but momentarily. Soon after fulfilling your goals and expectations, you strive for new goals to accomplish in order to derive new joys, and so the chase never stops.
It is important to understand the fact that happiness is independent of expectations, whether they are yours or the expectations others have from you. Instead, living in the moment while you hustle to achieve your goal is what brings you real happiness. Instead of waiting for that one moment of accomplishment, cherishing the struggle, the hard work, and the passion with which you pursue your goals while you’re still at it, will make you happy.
Myth 3: Fake It Till You Make It
We can’t stand negative emotions, can we? We are taught to pull ourselves together no matter how hard things get. It is the idea of forced happiness, the ultimate ‘fake it till you make it’ approach. We are programmed to believe that no matter how bad things go, we cannot allow ourselves to be sad. Society tells us how hiding negative emotions like sadness, anger, frustration will allow us to be happy, but that’s actually not the case. But how can you be a happier person when you are already faking it? Something to think about?
The True Meaning of Happiness
The concept of joy and happiness is something that nobody teaches you. From the moment you are born, you interact with your surroundings (a baby’s small world) in your own way. A baby enters the world crying but weeks later she begins to understand what brings her joy and what not. To me, that’s the purest form of happiness; only you know why you’re laughing! Real happiness is in knowing nothing, expecting nothing, accepting what you have, and doing things that you’re supposed to do. The moment you stop chasing happiness, it comes to you right there. And that’s the secret of a happy life!