20 January 2018

The pursuit of happiness....

We all want to be happy don't we? Mental illness and devastating life events aside, I think there are a few mistakes and assumptions we make about happiness, which can sometimes cloud things a little, when assessing our own state of contentment.

Success equals happiness.

I don’t think this is always true. Particularly the belief that you are only successful if you are financially well off, and therefore you must be happy.

We look at tangible aspects of other people’s lives and attribute happiness. We base this on the material things that they have; a nice car, a big house, lots of money, fancy holidays etc etc.

However success doesn’t have to be measured in money, and neither does happiness.

The problem is, in this day in age, and with the advancement of technology, the goal posts are constantly moving. What would have made us happy 10 years ago has now changed. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Evolving is healthy, and will always happen, and there is a lot that can be said for ambition and drive. But the as the saying goes money can’t buy happiness, and its true.

We assume other people’s happiness.

I do this all the time! We assume other people’s happiness, based on what we see on the outside. We assume that because people don’t blurt out all their problems when we bump into them in the Supermarket, or document every argument they have with their partner on Social Media that they must be happy. Again we look at the tangible aspects of their life (car, job, house etc) and attribute happiness. It’s the ‘its alright for them’ effect.

We shouldn't let other people's assumed happiness take away from our own. 
Perfection is the route to happiness
Not necessarily. This can mean we overlook our own happiness because we believe that actually, things could be better. Sometimes there always seems to be the pot of gold at the end of the horizon, that once we reach we will be happy.

This could be those few pounds you want to lose, or finally getting a new kitchen, or moving to a bigger house, a new car, a new job…..etc.

While this may be true, for a while, eventually the perfect house, new car, new kitchen or new job will become ‘normal’ and something else that needs improving will take the lead, and so it goes on. All the while the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is always slightly out of reach.

All of this is perfectly normal, but I think we should switch our focus sometimes. Don’t forget about all the other things that are also making us happy, in the here and now.

Happiness is a static emotion
Finally and most importantly, we forget that happiness is not a static emotion. Once reached it does not mean that it will remain.

If we view happiness as the tip of the iceberg, and spend all our time focusing on that one big thing that will make us happy, we will forget to notice all those little things that also make us happy every day.

Things that don’t always cost money, things that go unnoticed because they are always there and the things we take for granted. Simple things.

Every now and then we should forget about success, perfection, and other people, and ask ourselves if we are, in this moment, happy. We might just surprise ourselves. 

Author Laura @Mum_bore

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