If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!
A common question, or rather direction, I receive is some variation of “I just want to be happy, give me the tools to get there.” Alas I present you,
How to reach true happiness
- You can’t.
Now, the smug part of me so badly wants to leave this post at that, however because of the silence from my previous demand (clapping if you’re happy), the small part of me that likes to hear myself speak is shouting a little louder today. As such, I will divulge further and tell you why true happiness, though ambitious, is unattainable.
Being “happy” is a very subjective matter. If you have read enough self-help books to swim in an ocean of their pages like I have, you come to understand that everyone from reality star to psychologist has formulated a definition of what happiness is. That is great that they have found a definition for themselves, but what they fail to mention is that yes, they still experience sadness, anger, melodramatic moments etc.
No one can be truly happy day in and out—people experience loss, heartbreak, anger, your favourite team loses, the grocery store is out of the one thing you went there to buy, you lose your place in one of said self-help books, you drop your phone, you send a text message to the wrong person, you embarrass yourself, etc., etc.—STUFF HAPPENS.
Searching for true happiness
Searching for true happiness and allowing ourselves to feel only happy is setting ourselves up for nothing but failure. Attaching such a script to our daily lives doesn’t let us live; rather it breeds a brand of perfectionism where your life becomes about others, what they think, and in hopes they perceive you to be happy. If we expect happiness and only happiness, think about how awful you must feel when you have a day that is composed of anything but. I’m sure to bet the negative thoughts come roaring in to let you know how much of a failure you are.
If your goal is to be truly happy, you aren’t allowing yourself to feel natural, human emotion. Anger, sadness, pride, embarrassment, impatience, shyness, excitement, hanger, etc. all wouldn’t exist if they weren’t meant to be felt from time to time.
We live in a world that is obsessed with finding happy. My task for you is to IGNORE it. Allow yourself to be human. Experiencing human emotion is allowing ourselves to be authentically human; albeit a better feat once achieved, a more plausible goal, and a success inducing venture.