Why am I not happy?

Published by Amaka Chibuzo-Obi on

Happiness is one thing we all, as humans, agree on as being crucial to our existence. Living a life devoid of happiness can lead to very many ills like depression, suicide, stress and all its accompanying ailments.

We all pursue happiness with everything we have, sometimes, even mortgaging our futures in the process.

It’s the pursuit of happiness that will make a person betray, kill or deceive another to get what they own. Which they think will make them happy.

Lots of people cannot understand why this phenomena seems elusive.

It seems like, we are happy right now, but it’s gone in a few minutes!

Why am I not happy? How do I find lasting happiness?

The answer to that question may be found in the pursuit of happiness itself.

Before we get to that, let’s clarify the term “Happiness”. Happiness is not the rush of emotions you feel that make you laugh, make you high or ecstatic.

Happiness is not in constantly laughing and feeling good. Or the momentary burst of pleasure.

Happiness (in my own definition) is an internal, total and inexplicable feeling of wholesomeness and alignment with your past, your present and your future.

Enduring happiness is internal. It is wholesome. It is all round.

Now that we understand (somewhat) the concept of happiness, why then are many people not happy?

I theorize that, it is because many people make 2 mistakes –

  1. They mistake pleasure for happiness
  2. They look for happiness in the wrong places.

Pleasure are those activities that bring us great joy, make us ecstatic, they rush at us with a strong emotional component. We feel them. Making love is one pleasure that readily comes to the minds of a lot of people (yeah, I know that came to your mind too). But there are a gazillion others – eating icecream/chocolate, watching an interesting movie with friends., eating your favourite meal, drinking alcohol, smoking etc. All these (pleasurable) activities, even though they make us feel very good at the time, are very fickle and do not last for long. Some last as short as minutes!

Pleasures are very transient and fleeting. Chasing them leaves us running helter skelter as we need to find the very next pleasure as soon as the last one evaporates. That’s what leads people to addiction as they need the next ‘pleasure fix’.

We also look for happiness in the wrong places. We think think that when we get to a certain position, make a certain amount of money, live in a certain place etc, we will be happy. And so we chase after these things. Only to find them and the happiness we assumed we will have comes only for a little while and evaporates again and we are back to feeling empty. We adapt to our new circumstance and the search for happiness starts all over again.

To find enduring happiness, we need to

  • identify our strengths and then find gratification through these strengths.
  • Increase the positive emotions in our past, in the present and about the future.

It is only when we, intentionally, pursuit happiness that this concept that has eluded many for so long can be ours.

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