As we grow up, we tend to become more and more introspective and to seek the meaning of our lives and the happiness within – from self-inflicted suffering and pain as a virtue to the state of permanent happiness as a requirement for living.
Being optimistic is a tremendously helpful personality feature when dealing with new changes or grievances that happen in life, but being positive is not enough. Extreme optimism is as harmful as extreme pessimism. Above all, because the imposition of this perpetual optimism can discourage weaker spirits.
We are going to try in this article to understand how to distinguish the dictatorship of happiness from the democratic coexistence of different emotions, among them happiness, and how to manage to keep this state as long as possible.
“The joy of life is always having something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.” (Thomas Chalmers)
Happiness is sustained on numerous occasions by a large-scale means of support: advertising. We are told what we have to buy, what we have to do, all the books to read for achieving happiness.
“My happiness consists in knowing how to appreciate what I have and not excessively desiring what I do not have.”(Leon Tolstoi)
What should be the correct posture? Well, simply buying what we need and what fits our way of being and budget, assuming the following: these are worldly temporary pleasures that people when they are happy do not struggle nor bother on showing them off.
It is as having fun with certain messages, but never assimilating them as true. Many of these well-intended ads about how beauty is perceived have led to diseases such as anorexia or bulimia. Let’s not let that happen with the model of happiness, let’s live our life naturally!
Happiness is not being free of problems
Happiness is a state, a flow, an instant that life can offer us, in its name, at any time and in any circumstance. To think that happy moments can only occur in ideal circumstances is to deny its greatness to a rainy day, which is grey and somewhat uncomfortable but also hypnotic.
No one knows when a happy moment is going to show up nor when or if a happy moment will come out of an undesiredsituation. What is certain is that an open attitude will prevent us from missing anything positive.
The happiness of being able to accept all your emotions
Today more than ever, we medicate our emotions. If we are sad, we can’t stand them and we fight to separate them as much as possible from our existence. If we are happy, we want to stimulate them and to extend them to exhaustion ignoring the fundamental characteristic of an emotion: it is usually intense and temporary.
We want our minds to harbor the positive and penalize and expel the negative. How then could a pleasant state be distinguished from one that is not? What would have happened to our survival if we had not remembered the negative memories? How would we have evolved as a species and now as human beings?
We have to analyze ourselves as complex beings that are also capable of harboring different emotions. Letting all emotions flood us and embracing them is the only way to live fully. Euphoria is not only a temporary feeling; it is also an addictive and short-lasting one.
Self-imposed happiness with no ideals is hopeless
There is no fight or dream that does not imply dedication and resignation. Although, sometimes, if our dream is passionate and motivates us this resignation we will not understand it as such, but as a way of moving forward.
However, we will have to leave behind certain aspects that matter to us in order to achieve a greater goal. Resignation does not always overwhelm us, however giving up spending more time with those we love does cause us fear and discomfort.
We could decide to always be happy and therefore to give up goals that we know beforehand there are going to implydifficult times. However, this obsessive search for happiness, for positive feelings and wellbeing at all times is not similar tomental health: a person also needs tension in his life, disappointments and uncertainty.
“Happiness is not doing what you want but loving what you do.” (Jean Paul Sartre)
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