We all want to be happy. We all want to enjoy our time. But neither are goals to work towards, but rather an outcome of something else. And most of the time, that something else, is not easy.
Happy happy joy joy
I was about to write how I see that the strive towards feeling happy is actually preventing that from happening. But then I found this one comment from the following video of “Happy Happy Joy Joy” -song from The Ren & Stimpy Show. It encapsulates my own thoughts so well, that I was lazy and just quoted the whole comment:
“This is a metaphor for the obsession with happiness and optimism that overtook the west in the 70s and 80s (and alive now more than ever). People today are convinced that if they’re not happy, they’ve failed, which is one of the most important conditions for the vicious cycle of depression that many are stuck in today.” –samthepoor
I fully agree.
Most problems arise from unnecessary expectations. Expectations laid upon us by the society we live in, social networks we participate in, relatives we have, or even our own inner voices. But no gain comes from finding the cause to blame. In the end, we ourselves, are responsible for believing in any and all expectations we give ourselves.
Take this upcoming Christmas for example. I bet most have very clear and strict ideas and ways on how their Christmas should be like. Based on traditions most likely but sometimes also on more controversial sources. Christmas magazines, books, and even movies and TV-shows all shape our own idea of ideal Christmas. It is so easy to sink into one of those fantasies and feel the joyful happiness of that fake reality.
And then the real Christmas comes along. Now it’s obvious that nothing can beat our own imagination. So when you are put on the spot to compare the actual Christmas dinner to that of your month-long imaginative feast of happiness, no good will come out of it. You will feel disappointment. And thus you’ve denied yourself actual enjoyment, by trying too much to create something to enjoy. You’ve drowned yourself into unnecessary expectations.
Enjoyment requires doing work
Having enjoyment will require work. Just not towards the enjoyment, but towards the things you value in life. There are few very important distinctions that need to be made when talking about this subject.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
First of all success, happiness, enjoyment and other such descriptions only apply to things that have already happened! You can’t set a goal to succeed at what you are going to do. Whether the result of that action is a success or not, can only be defined after it is finished. This is something I, too, struggle with every day.
Secondly, in this particular context, work is anything that requires effort. If it’s easy and doesn’t make you “sweat” mentally nor physically, it’s not really work the way I mean it right now. It needs to be a bit hard, it needs to feel a tiny bit uncomfortable. Then overcoming that little difficulty can be said as doing work. The pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, not in front of it.
Happiness requires doing nothing
Enjoyment comes from work. Happiness comes from within. So where as enjoyment can be seen as something to be gained from doing work, happiness is something way more deep. They may or may not overlap with each other but have no actual relation.
So how to feel happy? Stop trying to do just that. Do not try to be happy, but just live the way you feel like it. Be who you want to be. Best way I can put this idea into words, is:
Happiness requires doing nothing, but being everything.