One of the greatest and worst things about being human is happiness. Happiness is both straightforward and complex. Something that we spend our whole lives devoted to procuring without a second thought. It is easy to obtain but difficult to hold on to, just like the polish on a mirror. We are ultimately afraid to lose it, and all that comes with it being lost.
Happiness is an amazing thing; I can be happy about getting a new book or watching a new movie but with time the joy I gain from it diminishes. The temporary fix of happiness will only hold us for so long, and when we are looking up from the bottom of a well of emotion, it’s these small bursts that give us hope of getting free.
Perhaps it’s because I was at the bottom of one of these wells recently that I have gained perspective about what role happiness plays in my life. I tried to hit the happiness button as often as possible; I think we all do when we are feeling down or just want to forget about the life we are leading. Never wanting to leave the things that keep the storming emotions at bay. Life begins to revolve around the button, never straying too far from it for fear you could lose it.
Happiness keeps us moving, growing, and adapting since pleasure will start to diminish each time go to flip the switch. Each time not as powerful as before, the only solution is to either throw ourselves headlong as to suck up all the happiness from this particular activity or change where we get the joy. It becomes a search for happiness switches, to the point of obsession, thinking that the accumulation of these powers will free us from the darkness within.
I can attest that that is where my mind jumped to, wanting to preserve the things in my life that made me happy. A simple demand of sorts, a never ceasing vacuum to deposit the happiness quota was unsustainable. I found achieving happiness just as stressful as the negative feelings that hung over me. I knew could move forward with feeding this monster for so long. I knew there had to be another way to be okay.
I began to build a foundation for myself, a raft to stand on in the tumultuous sea of emotion. It is when I was pushing myself in other ways when my foundation took hold. I found that happiness wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, just a byproduct of doing other things. Ironically by foregoing my hunt for happiness and working on myself, I found happiness. This lead me to a revelation.
Happiness is just a byproduct, a reaction to life. It is one of the best feelings to experience along with love and achievement, but along with those two it can only be found as a byproduct or given as a gift. What I found was much more sustainable, being content. Now, I am by no means saying that I found it by looking at my situation and accepting it, I found it by working at making my life better. Each step I took the weight off before I knew it, I was free. I realized that it wasn’t just negative emotions that were drowning me but emotions in general and with all things, too much of it can hinder us more than it helps.
Happiness is a great thing because it’s fleeting, something that we can get accustomed. Happiness is both tragic and beautiful; we can appreciate when it’s around and miss it when it’s gone. I leave my happiness button at home because I know I will find small joys throughout the day. It is in working towards something bigger that I am able to be okay. At the end, I am not devoted to happiness, but I will always smile when I find it.