3 ways we sabotage our own happiness

Ask anyone what their goal in life is and most of their answers will revolve around their job, family, friends or health. while all these things are means to an end that is happiness, you’ll seldom hear people saying, “my goal in life is to be happy.”

From childhood to adulthood, right until the end, our priorities change. We assign new meanings and purpose to our lives as we go. Having gone through the same change of preferences like anyone else, I’ve decided in my mid-twenties that my goal in life is happiness. Anything that makes me unhappy, stresses me out or promotes negativity has no place in my life. It’s time to declutter and detach from whats not serving me in any positive way.

But here’s the thing, now that I’ve made happiness a goal I find myself worrying about it. After all, goals are meant to be achieved and if I’ve been so frivolous as to make happiness my ultimate goal, what am I doing to achieve it?

And that was a moment of epiphany for me. Nobody answers the questions in “my goal is to be happy” because we have made happiness an unconquerable thing. Sure there are external factors, problems, ups and downs of life but most of the time we deny ourselves the luxury of being truly happy.

So I sat down and analyzed how I and other people around me sabotage our own happiness.

We have a perfect image of what happiness looks like

Pop culture tries to sell us this idealistic version of happiness and consciously or subconsciously we fall prey to it. With the advent of social media, we’re always looking towards someone else’s life thinking that is a happy life. Happiness isn’t always what we see while scrolling down our Instagram feed. It is tainted and flawed and can be drawn from the most imperfect situations. Cue in the famous  Albus Dumbledore quote:

Happiness, Albus Dumbledore, quote

We keep postponing our happiness

Because being happy feels like something to be accomplished, we procrastinate in trying to achieve it. The subconscious fear of not “winning” at happiness gives way to excuses like; I will be happy when I’ll get that promotion. I will be happy when I buy that car. I’ll be happy when I have a steady relationship.

Guess what, the moment we achieve the xyz goal, we want more. Our definition of happiness changes into something else that we don’t yet have. So let’s not be like that squirrel from Ice Age that keeps trying to store the oak nut for future instead of savouring it in the moment. That little guy always ends up in a bad place.

We over-analyze ourselves into grump

This is something that I personally struggle with the most. Happiness is fragile especially when you have to work for it. One little nudge from the  Negative Nancy in you and it crumbles into pieces. As with everything, over-analyzing your each and every step in the context of happiness is a slippery slope. Asking yourself “am I happy?” once in a while is healthy but obsessing about it is rather counterproductive. It inevitably leads us to think about all that is wrong and before you know it psychological hell breaks loose leaving you grumpy and ungrateful.

We are the happiest when we are not thinking about how happy we are.

Do you feel like you’re allowing yourself to be happy? Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. In depth analysis of happiness and …the result.
    ..We are happy when we dont ask “Am I happy”.The moment we start asking this we become unhappy….I agree with it 100%.
    Having said that I think happiness has different meanings for different people depending upon their genetic makeup and broughtup but the problem is that we cant perceive pattrens of others hapiness other than our own so we all have models for happiness and when we cant achieve those models we feel unhappy.
    You rightly said stop pursuing these models of happiness and stop thinking about them because life is too unpridictable to follow some model. You never know next turn brings what before u.It might be an Oaisis if ur traveling in a desert and it might as well be a desert if u r already passing through green medows.

  2. Love this post! I struggle with having a perfect image of happiness and falling for the comparisons of what “happy” looks like on social media. I think when I step away from the expectations of being “happy” I find that I live in the moment without as many expectations and through this I am able to find my happiness. Great post!!

  3. Wow. Yes. This! I have to admit that I’m one of those “I’ll-be-happy-when…” people! And I had this very conversation with a friend recently where we both agreed that being happy shouldn’t be so hard, but it is! I love posts like this that give me the motivation to strive a little harder to achieve the things that are for my own wellbeing. Thanks for sharing!

  4. A different perspective. Quite insightful. Would love to read more on your blog.

  5. Funny how we get in our own way of happiness. I’m sure who we were raised by has a lot to do with it. Thanks for your post, it’s helpful to be mindful.

  6. I loved this article so much. You have done a great job.
    Yes, I agree with every bit of what you said!

  7. i so agree with the points. for me, happiness has had different times and I had so many expectations and those what was killing me. thanks for sharing

  8. I totally agree with you..Before, I always thought that I will be happy when this and this happens to me..it goes on and on until I realised, I could never be happy if this is what I need to feel happy.. so when I looked back at my life I always have what I need and most of the time what I wanted, I have no reason to be unhappy..when I practice gratitude I learned that happiness is everywhere and it’s figuratively is in you and everything around you..
    Love your post, it’s very meaningful

  9. We should be in control of our own happiness. but some let others dictate their happiness. which its weird that theyd do such thing because everyones standards of happiness is different.

  10. What a wonderful post! Some people spend their entire lives “looking” for happiness. Happiness is a frame of mind and the journey. It isn’t a place that you arrive at. Enjoying the moments, looking for the silver lining in every situation, is choosing the actually BE happy instead of waiting for it to happen.

    • The Hamster Ball

      Indeed. Thanks for your two cents LeeAnn 🙂

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