Why the Pursuit of Happiness is making us miserable and What are you willing to struggle for?
In our society today there us a whole generation of people thinking that it is not good to have negative emotions, that we should avoid pain and suffering no matter what and try to focus on the positive, on our desires, on our wishes, on becoming better.
It goes like this: We have to be positive at all times, and if not we will not make it to a happy successful life …because our belief system creates our behavior and our behavior creates outcomes and if those are not positive, what is the point anyway, right?
The tricky part with this positivity and happy go lucky epidemic is that we put so much pressure on ourselves to be positive all the time, that we don’t know how to deal with and process negative emotions, how to deal with failure, how to be more resilient, how to look at our shadow sides.
We start blaming ourselves for not being positive, we worry about being worried, we stress about being stressed. And we start thinking we are not good enough, that there is something inherently wrong with us.
And at the end of it we are unhappy and unfulfilled and try to fill the gap.
If I only had more financial stability, I would be more happy. If I looked like X, I would be fulfilled. If I was more like Y, I would definitely be more grounded…You get the point.
We also overcompensate with quick fix solutions and temporary HIGHS…we go have a drink, we eat a bucket of icecream, we buy way too many of those gorgeous tops and shoes and bags we don’t need to impress people we don’t actually like. Sounds familiar?
Well this is where we need to pause more than ever and ask ourselves what we really care about.
The Pursuit of Happiness is actually making us miserable, because it lets us focus on our lack, on what we don’t have.
Instead of running away from the challenges, numbing the pain and filling the wholes of “this is another thing a need to feel better about myself”, we shall ask ourselves: What are we willing to struggle for? What does our pain actually teach us?
It is not really new, but here a reminder: The challenges and struggle never really end. No one is immune from stress, difficulties and challenging experiences. We are all faced with moments that bring suffering and pain to our lives and guess what is actually a GOOD THING. Because you will grow and learn (if you choose to) and may be even teach others how to overcome what you went through.
The question is how do YOU respond in these situations? What do you learn from challenge and adversity? What does success and happiness really mean and can you train yourself to be more resilient?
So today just a reminder to focus on 1. your values and 2. your struggles.
Most of what I have learned in my life doesn’t come from my successes, but rather my failures, my dull days, my pains. So I encourage you to at least have a closer look and give it a thought.
What are you willing to struggle for?