...True or False? "Incessant happiness is attainable."
Written on July 31, 2015
I know that I've spoken about this topic on here before, but I felt a desire to delve into it a bit more in today's post. This matter is something I think about quite often; the subject of happiness and all that this basic yet enigmatic word entails. Because I could take this discussion in nearly any direction, I'll start straightforwardly with a question:
Are you happy?
A simple yes or no question, right? 1) "Yes, I'm happy" or 2) "No, I'm not..."
If your answer is the anticipated, negative response (aka, #2), then what are you? "No, I'm not..." is an incomplete statement, one that provokes a yearning for elaboration on the vague, triple-dot ending. In other words, this response is a bit more ambiguous. To add to that, very few people would answer this question honestly. A comparable analogy involves the commonplace interaction of:
"How are you today?" — followed by, "I'm doing well, thanks, how are you?"
We're programmed to say that we're "doing well" or that we're "fine" whenever this question is asked (be it by the grocery store cashier, a friend's mom, one's own parents, and so on). The issue? We often lie; we say that we're "doing well" even when we're not.
I noticed this bizarre norm during a recent interaction I participated in. When I asked the girl scanning my concert ticket how she was that particular day, she responded by saying, "I'm having a bit of a weird day, but I'm hangin' in there. How are you?" I was a bit taken a back. Should I ask what's wrong? Should I offer to be a listener? Should I just ignore her response, move on quickly with a "Good, thanks," and then half-smile goodbye? Regretfully, I went with the third option.
As I mentioned earlier, we have a tendency to hide the truth in order to be polite and conform to what is societally expected (this applies to a number of everyday situations). Because of this tendency, we've trained ourselves to bury our dark emotions. In particular, kids and teenagers close in age to myself don't know any better, as we witness fabricated masks and idealism daily. One example includes social media's portrayal that a "slim figure not only defines beauty, but also is the chief ingredient to attaining inner happiness." As a result of the growing prevalence of this "shoving-our-sincere-emotions-under-the-rug" practice, individuals' perceptions of happiness have become warped. People have lost an understanding of what it means to be happy. Consequently, a spike in metal illness has arisen; people's abilities to verbally articulate their feelings have withered; a willingness to express emotion openly and honestly has disintegrated.
It's believed that happiness can be achieved both on a momentary level and on an all-encompassing, "life" level. In other words, your reaction to watching a humorous video on Youtube might make you happy. Christmas morning might make you happy. A large cheese pizza might make you happy. But "happiness" — happiness is different.
Many believe that happiness is defined as an overall mental state embodying a direct correlation to outlook on life. With regard to momentary happiness, I think there are many things, people, events, emotions and so on that have the ability to generate a feeling of happiness; a smile; a joyful sensation. However, when it comes to life as a whole, I think it's impossible to be happy all of the time. Those who claim that they are incessantly happy are lying to both themselves and everyone around them.
My point: happy and happiness are two different words. Like I said above, we all feel happy at certain times in our life. Happiness, however, involves acceptance; the acceptance of oneself and one's life (including the good, the bad, and the ugly). Only until this realization is made, is one truly able to experience utter happiness.
I don't believe in living neutrally. Interpret this as you will, but in my opinion, it's essential to feel. Pure joy is incredibly sweet, but only because it so starkly contrasts with its antipodes. Now, I'm not saying that one can only feel genuine bliss once he or she has experienced misery (seems like some ridiculous, theological ideology from the ancient age or something). Instead, I'm trying to convey the importance of recognizing and justifying all feelings one experiences: the wretchedness of loss—the sting of heartbreak—the prick of rejection AND ALSO the satisfaction of accomplishment—the enchantment of love—the invincibility of creativity.
I don't know about you, but I want to vibrantly
- & live.
So, why would one merely want to exist?
I hope this made sense. As I mentioned, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what happiness means to me lately, and I thought it'd be interesting to share my perspective with the world (aka the people reading my blog...aka probably just my mom, but that's beside the point). I hope you enjoyed today's post & I look forward to speaking to you in my next one.
What does happiness mean to you?