Why is everyone so obsessed with being happy?
Why can’t we accept that happiness is a feeling which comes and goes just like sadness, anger, love, and frustration?
None of these feelings last forever, not even love.
Why would happiness?
How many of us have stayed in a state of bliss forever? We all have experienced joy from time to time, but it disappears. Then we are back to our default state, whatever that is for each one of us. For many of us, it is melancholy.
Some of us are happy, being sad.
So much so that we try to hide our happiness because we are too afraid that misery is just around the corner, waiting to step in as soon as she finds the door ajar.
Often we blame circumstances for our unhappiness, while happiness is an inner state of mind and is independent of outer conditions. Many people have turned their grief into creative pursuit and created something beautiful out of their unhappiness.
Elizabeth Gilbert just released a new book ‘City of Girls’ that she wrote in the grieving months just after her partner’s death.
Red Symons’(an Australian comedian) son, had brain cancer at the age of four. At that time the famous show ‘Hey Hey Saturday’ featuring Red Symons had just started. Red used comedy as a relief to deal with the blow of fate. He decided to stay happy and live life no matter what fate had thrown at him.
After spending a year in search of happiness, Gretchen Rubin wrote in her book ‘The Happiness Project,’
“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”
She goes on to say:
“When I find myself focusing too much on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to ‘Enjoy now’. If I can enjoy the present, I don’t need to count on the happiness that is (or isn’t) waiting for me in the future.”
The fact is we are guilty of inviting unhappiness in our lives. There are three reasons for that.
- Our belief system. We think that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish. To get the glory, we act unhappy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly light-hearted. It’s easier to complain than to laugh, easier to yell than to joke around, easier to be demanding than to be satisfied.” Meaning being happy is a lot of work while being sad is easy. As Seth Godin puts it, “Doom is inevitable, gloom is optional.”
- Our paradox of expectations. We want to change ourselves, but we also want to accept ourselves for what we are. We want to be merry go lucky, but we also want to take ourselves seriously. We want to be disciplined, but we also want to wander, play, and read at whim. We are always on the edge of agitation; we want to let go of envy and anxiety, yet keep our energy and ambition. What we don’t get is we can do anything we want but not everything we want.
- Our occupation. For the last four centuries, we have abandoned creativity from our lives. In 1600, before the industrial revolution, everyone lived their creativity when there were no proper jobs. A bread-maker baked bread, a seamstress sewed clothes, a blacksmith made tools, a cobbler made shoes. They all worked with their hands to create something that provided them with a living and gratification from their work
Today most of the jobs are left-brain jobs. Jobs consisting of following processes, problem-solving, planning working in the assembly line.
They might pay well, but they don’t bring the satisfaction the creative work brings.
No wonder in survey after survey, most people express their desire to quit their jobs to do something they are passionate about. They are seeking contentment from their work, which comes from creativity.
Being creative is being happy, and being happy is being creative.
Most people are happiest when they are engrossed in a creative activity.
Creativity doesn’t belong to artists, but it exists in every field. A farmer can be as creative as a mason or a hotel receptionist who make her guest feel welcome in a creative way.
To invite happiness in your life, change your beliefs, and lower your expectations, and be creative.