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the pursuit of happiness can lead to unhappiness.

August 1, 2017

The reason so many people are unhappy is because they are pursuing happiness.

This might seem like a terribly cynical statement. But consider this..

That majority of the time that humans have been on this earth, they have not concerned themselves with pursuing happiness. No. They were too busy pursuing SURVIVAL.

Such is still true for so many humans living on this planet today.

The trouble with pursuing happiness is it can lead to a neurotic state in which one continually and obsessively asks, “Am I happy enough?” “Those people look happier than I am. Maybe I should buy that luxury car, or take that drug, or seek fame, or..”

And the more unhappy they become.

I’m not saying happiness is bad. But maybe, instead of always pursuing it, let it sneak up on you, while you are doing something productive and good with your life.

Also, simple contentment and gratitude for what you have should not be discounted. Contentment and gratitude are very important, and do not lead to the rat race of frantically pursuing happiness.

Something else to consider: we Americans are taught that pain is an option. We feel that in no circumstance should we have to endure pain.

But pain is inevitable. It just is. The first Noble Truth of Buddhism? In life there is suffering. I’m not Buddhist, but I feel this is worth mentioning.

We are all in pain some of the time. It can be extremely difficult to not frantically seek to get rid of pain. Yes.. if you have a headache, take some medicine. Yes, seek medical attention if need be. But don’t expect to always be free of pain.

This can be an especially hard truth for those of us who live with chronic pain, whether it be mental or physical. Or both.

Sometimes, the best we can do is, instead of trying to relieve the pain, just sit with it, and be patient. It’s hard. I know. This is something I struggle with, which is why I am writing about it.

I think, once one accepts pain, and learns to be patient and sit with it, one will find peace.

And maybe someday happiness will come along.

If it does, be grateful, but don’t cling to it, and don’t be too surprised when it is gone again. And lastly, don’t chase it once it has disappeared.

Live your life. Be content, be grateful. Happiness in some form will come back again. But don’t worry, and don’t be afraid to wave goodbye to it when it leaves.

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