The stressful search for happiness

We are so busy in our search for happiness that it stresses us out, making us feel frustrated and inadequate for not being happy. Our constant longing for happiness is literally making us miserable. Just let the irony of that statement sink in.

We are so many people in this world who are on a constant quest to find “happiness”. I’m no exception. I have literally typed “how to be happy” on Google more times than I’d like to admit. I obviously never found the answer to this question on Google. At best, I would come across yet another website by some money hungry American douchebag who created a program that promises to accomplish miracles. Just pay 300 dollars for his life-changing E-book and you will have all the answers. (That’s a small price to pay for happiness he says). I could just roll my eyes so hard they’d get stuck in my eyebrows.

But what if we just take a breath and ask ourselves what it is that we are really looking for. What is “happiness” really? Our modern day world is throwing peoples “happy” lives in our faces 24/7 and while most of us have realized by now that what we see on Instagram is only the perfected show and not the “behind the scenes”, it still causes this manic desire to be as happy as that acai bowl-eating, gluten-free influencer you follow #goals. Or more accurately be as happy as they pretend to be.

I hate to burst your bubble but the human race is not biologically wired to “be happy”. The human race is wired to survive. That’s it. You are meant to survive, not to float around on an imaginary cloud of fairy dust, feeling no fear or anxiety or worry. That being said, I’m not at all stating that you can never “be happy”. But happiness is a feeling, just like anger, sadness, and worry. You are meant to feel all of them at different times depending on outer factors. That is being human. Spending your whole life searching, to “be happy” is such a waste of time and is actually only causing you to feel worse. For some reason, we see other feelings as something temporary. Take worry for example. You may say “I am worried” but you do not identify with the feeling the same way you do with “I am happy”. You, for some reason, expect or at least wish for happiness to be a constant feeling while you know that worry is something that comes and goes.

I would like to change the term of “finding happiness” to “finding balance”. Because that is what we should strive for. We should treat happiness as a feeling that comes and goes, just like all other feelings. It’s like that free bird that you fed in your garden a couple of times who became almost tame. It keeps coming back to you but it can also leave at any time and it’s not always in your control. Sometimes it leaves for a longer time and you may start wondering if you’ll ever see it again. But then one sunny afternoon its there again, singing outside your window, hoping you have some breadcrumbs to spare.

So the summary of all this is we need to stop imagining a life where happiness is a constant state of mind. Happiness is not constant for anyone and it’s not natural neither possible to always be happy. However, there are a lot of things we can do and work on to make happiness occur as often as possible because it is, after all, the best of all feelings. But we need even the negative emotions in order to feel and appreciate the happiness once it arrives. So by all means, strive to feel happy as often as possible and work on turning your thoughts from negative to positive. But don’t let the strive to feel happy cause you stress and pain. When you constantly work on finding happiness you are more likely to punish yourself. You may feel like a failure for never achieving this impossible goal you set for yourself. It takes no Einstein to understand that this vicious cycle will only give you the opposite of happiness. That’s why I say we should work towards finding balance instead. Balance is something we can control because it comes from within. Sure, outer factors can make it more or less difficult to find balance but it still always comes from within. It’s your ability to stay on your feet when life is throwing you challenges. It’s your ability to show yourself love and to appreciate yourself. It’s your ability to have faith even through the hardest emotions and most importantly, It’s your ability to feel a deep appreciation for the times you do feel happy. The irony in all of this is when you stop searching for happiness and start working towards balance instead you will most likely be happier than you’ve ever been.


Lisa Belinda