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:
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.