By Julia Allison, DivineCaroline
It would be tough to argue that anything occupies a larger portion of our conscious “think time” than an endless quest for happiness. And yet, despite this being the ostensible end goal for just about everything we do, we sure spend a lot of time…well…not feeling terribly happy.
Are we bad at happiness? Actually? Yes. We sort of are. But it’s more complicated than that, of course. There are two big fallacies about happiness, and letting go of both of them will allow you to embrace your sunnier nature’and enjoy life a little. What do you have to lose besides that whole “misery” thing?
It’s not always that we’re “bad” at being happy. It’s that we’re frequently bad at accurately predicting what will make us happy.
I’ve read numerous happiness studies which support this point (including, but not limited to the book, Stumbling Upon Happiness) some of which cite statistics and anecdotes about lottery winners, models and movie stars, and others who should theoretically be so hopped up on natural beauty/money/fame bliss that they walk around in a perpetual cloud of joy that mere mortals can’t even wrap their sad, delight-deprived minds around.
Except … that’s not the case. Rich people, beautiful people, and famous people may have lives that “stand out” more on E! True Hollywood Story, but they aren’t happier than the rest of us. In fact, if you’ve ever watched such a program, you’ve probably thought, “Dear God, thank you for not making me rich, gorgeous, and well-known.”
Or maybe you haven’t. And it’s certainly a cliche that cash, looks, and constant paparazzi doesn’t lead you to the temple of contentment. But the extreme examples serve to highlight that we really do place a disproportionate importance on those three, in slightly less dramatic forms–our jobs, our sex appeal, or popularity. So we mindlessly toil away without thinking, or worse, strive toward goals which we confuse with happiness. After all, many of us forget–or never learned in the first place–what really makes us content.