What Happiness is Not

I’m sorry, y’all. I’ve been sick and cooped up the last couple of days with the common flu. It was hard to read a book let alone think of a topic to type out on the small screen. At any rate, I apologize for the absence. 

But during my convalescence, I did watch a lot of Netflix and I got inspired. A particular favorite of mine was the documentary “happy” which takes a look at people around the world and speaks to psychologists about why certain populations are happier than others. 

I’m in a time where I’m looking for my own happiness, so it struck a definite chord with me. Really, I was watching it to see if I could apply any strategies to my own life. 

But I had heard it all before: be around your loved ones, don’t worry about money, try to meditate, write down things you’re grateful for. I know all of these things, and yes, when I do them, they do make me consistently happier. 

So, I wondered if maybe my problem is that I know what happiness is but I forget what it isn’t. For example, buying new clothes is a fleeting pleasure but it does not satisfy. So why do I keep going on “retail therapy” trips when I’m in need of a pick me up? Why can’t I figure out that more clothing does not mean less hole in heart? 

And I wondered if maybe other people have this problem too.

So, let’s talk about what happiness isn’t. Because the more we talk about happiness, the more it seems obvious to pursue, and frankly, makes me feel a little guilty that I haven’t figured it out yet. 

But if we learn what it isn’t, we won’t go chasing that high time after time, and can convince ourselves to find it some other way. 

Happiness is not: 

  • Buying material possessions 
  • Making that much money (a dollop will do ya) 
  • Realizing your dream (as hard as that is to say)
  • In another person
  • A number on a scale
  • An expensive getaway
  • A life event

And that last one is important. Just because you think something is an accomplishment in life, does not mean it will be the fountain of your happiness (aka getting married, getting your doctorate, etc.). 

There. Now you know what happiness isn’t. Essentially, it’s not a state you get to like climbing a flight of stairs. Happiness should be a muscle you flex with intention. 

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