"The Pursuit of UN-Happiness"
It's always been my thought that happiness is what you assume it to be. From my observations and, more importantly: my studies, that's exactly what it is. We define what happiness is to us in our minds and how we measure up to our definition defines exactly how happy or sad we are. Our biological, sociological, and psychological development will be what helps us to create this definition and because of the many influencing factors, it forever changes.
All of that makes sense to me! We grow older, we'll outgrow friends and get new ones, our priorities change, so of course our definition will change. When I first learned this, which was not too long ago, it all made sense. My grandma (the perfectionist) is the happiest when everything has order, my pop (the bishop) is most happy when he sees people praise God like he thinks they should, my brother (the crazy one, lol) is most happy with money, and my niece (the infant) is most happy with something good for her mouth and people replenishing when she shows them that she's finished what she was eating. If there's one thing guaranteed about the world...it's diversity! There's one word tied directly to our happiness: accomplishments! How do we compare next to our idea of happiness? How much of that definition have we accomplished? For me, happiness is success in life. My definition of success (everyones is different due to interests, paths in life) is doing well in everything that I set out to do. My thoughts are always "how are my grades in school? Am I giving it my all? Am I satisfied with the effort I'm putting forth? At work am I fulfilling my duties to the best of my ability? Am I playing my part as a team member to keep the job smooth?"
When I am asking these questions, I am almost always satisfied, even when I know there is room for improvement. The thoughts almost always go wrong when they turn from my own criticism to trying to guess others criticism.
"If Pop saw your grades what would he say? You know he frowns at anything below an A. What would mom say about the time you sound studying. Honestly, you don't spend much time studying. What does your boss think of you? You probably don't do as good as you think."
I said all of that to say this: When we stop living up to our own expectations, it can work in our favor because we develop healthy stress which acts as motivation, but at the same time so many negative things develop that I have to question if that little bit of motivation is even worth it. By incorporating others opinions into our definition of happiness, it morphs, and though it is still in our head, it is no longer OUR definition. Insecurities develop, unhealthy competition, a constant feeling of being in a race, and the worst of all...the perception of failure. Failure is surely a downer! I see it too often, I could even provide real life examples because it happens everyday and it happens to everyone. It can be bad and it can be worse. It's all in whose expectations you began to live up to. Is it your parents/guardians? Friends? Significant other's? Mentors? Or the worst...an "enemy"? Coveting is one of the ten commandments. I am witnessing peoples definition of happiness morphing constantly and not because they care what the people that matter to them think, but because the people that don't matter are the opinions they think most highly of. Searching for an approval they'll never get! Forgetting all of the things that once made you happy because you are competing with someone for THEIR happiness. We have to remember who matters and in what order, and most importantly that our true happiness lies within our own thoughts and opinions, and our joy lies within our relationship with Christ. When you're not being true to yourself, it will eventually get hard to fake it and you will be a visibly bitter person, and willingly on the pursuit of UN-happiness.
Be blessed! <3