Why “Happiness” Is Not One Of My Goals.

Hey beautiful people!

I often find myself thinking about social media; pondering the questions it raises about our existence and what its introduction has and will do to us. One thing I find myself often wondering about is authenticity.

Authenticity of our lives, of our personalities; our dreams and desires. One of the double-edged swords of our age of connectivity, in my opinion, is the constant exposure to everything. Cultures, ideas, images, music, messages.

While on one hand there’s affirmation to be found in thousands of people just like you, there’s dissent and self-loathing to be found in thousands more not. There’s constant bombardment of the good, the bad, the ugly and the calculated.

Everyone likes to talk about the “fake” version of reality that’s constructed through social media and the harmful impacts that has. The fake Instagram models damaging self-esteem. The fake perfect couples setting expectations for real life relationships too high and damaging real ones. “Goals” that aren’t actually real goals. Something I’d like to explore further at some point is the connection between media and society – but that’s a whole separate issue.

I find myself thinking a lot about about people in other cultures. Travelling more this year, as cliche as it may sound, opened my eyes to the other ways people live. There’s so much happiness to be found in simplicity; so many people living in conditions that we’d consider squalor here are far happier and more grateful than we are!

Do you ever think about what people thousands of years ago wanted? What their goals were? I’m eternally grateful to live in this world, in this time, but there is something to said for living in a time where it must have been so much more simple to sort out who you are, separate from all the fragments of things you’ve picked up from other people.

But none of this is the point of today – forgive me, I’m getting side-tracked.

One of the things I’ve always been interested in is marketing; the psychology behind it, the intelligence. It’s fascinating – marketing controls us all, it makes up the facets of our society. How we see the world is all shaped through adverts, carefully curated messages and implanted opinions. What’s beautiful in one country is disgusting in another; what constitutes a “dream” relationship one society is what’s considered completely wrong in another.

If you want an example, just look at newspapers – the politicians are the products, the stories are the ads. Watch how they can feed into existing biases; draw out our support or shine our pitchforks.

A trend that has blown up recently is healthcare. You’ve all seen it; veganism, minimalism, meditation, yoga, mental health, clean eating, etc.

Health is the new luxury.

(You could argue the irony that in a time where health is being pushed so heavily the NHS is underfunded and Britain is losing most of its doctors and nurses. That we aren’t running massive campaigns about the dangers of over-reliance on anti-biotics and the dangers of sugar. You could also make a case that there is a lot of the fake kind of healthy; the sort of healthy life that looks good on Instagram. Yet, that’s just me being cynical.)

I don’t want to sound pretentious and holier-than-thou; I’ve whole-heartedly bought into this healthy lifestyle. I’m excited to join the gym and start eating cleanly and take care of my mental health; I’m just pointing out a trend.

In my opinion, this trend has come about as part of the “perfect life” package that the world seemed to subscribe to with Instagram. Everyone wants to be pristine; that means having an amazing house, an amazing face and body, an amazing partner, doing amazing things and being amazing and inspirational.

And so leads me to the crux of this post.

It’s a Friday night while I’m writing this. I’ve come home from work and I was supposed to go for drinks with my best friend and then clubbing with another best friend. It sounds fun, right? An opportunity to do something exciting. To take funny Snapchats and show off that we’re young, fun and we have friends. To make memories. To get drunk. To feel pretty. To further perpetuate that London Lifestyleβ„’.

What am I doing? Sitting in an empty house, listening to music that nobody else really likes, writing. There are some good books that I want to order; a few documentaries I want to watch.

I want to make it very clear: I’m not happy. If I’d have gone out, I’m sure there’d have been moments of happiness – I’m sure I’d have had a great time.

What I am, right now, is content.

My best friend, the one I was supposed to go clubbing with, will be horrified with me. She’ll moan about me being “boring”; she’ll say “life should be taking advantage of every moment and living it to the fullest” or some Pinterest-worthy quote like that.

This is something that I personally disagree with; it’s part of the instant gratification that I believe our always-connected culture brings. In my opinion – and I want to make it very clear that this is a personal opinion; I don’t believe everyone should feel the same –Β  happiness is like adrenaline. It’s an addiction. You have adrenaline junkies; you have happiness junkies.

But, like a rush of adrenaline, happiness is fleeting – it’s an emotion; a rush of fucking dopamine. There’s physically no way to constantly be on-top-of-the-world happy. (And, honestly, how exhausting would that be?) Chasing happiness constantly, always aiming to outdo yourself and stuff every second with amazing experiences, is . . . I don’t know. It doesn’t, to me, seem like real life. Where there’s a high, there’s a low.

Sometimes I look at people doing just that and I think “inauthentic”. When you start chasing happiness for the sake of saying that you’re happy, how can you truly know that’s what you want? Are you actually happy? How can you truly appreciate an experience if you’re only doing it to impress someone else? To say that you’ve done it? For the sake of “having memories to look back on”? For the sake of a fun Instagram post and a Snapchat story?

Not only that, it’s not sustainable. It’s not real. It’s something I genuinely worry about – people expect to always be happy. Work doesn’t make me on top of the world happy, so I’m going to quit. A job that does make me happy has started to feel dull, so I’m going to quit. My boyfriend is nice, but he isn’t movie-hero nice, so I’m going to quit. My husband and I get along well, but that “spark” isn’t there at the moment and I’m not as happy as I was when we first met, so I’m going to quit. There’s no staying power; no commitment.

The act of chasing means that you’re always going to be running. You’re always wanting more. Whether that’s money, drugs, adrenaline or happiness. You will always wake up one day thinking about the grass that’s greener over there.

Which is precisely why I don’t aim for “happy”.

Example: I will never reach the sophrosyne state of mind...

I don’t know if any of you will remember my post Beautiful Words That I Want Tattooed, but this is one of the first words that I want tattooed – sophrosyne. This is how I choose my happiness. This is how I decide if I want to go clubbing or read a book – and, you guys know me, I love a good music festival (I’ve posted about two this year) and a good house or drum-and-bass club night – by trying my hardest to stay true to myself and what I want. What will make me happy. But in moderation and self-control. While it would have made me happy for a few moments to go out last night, I was tired, I’ve been out already twice this week and I have a good weekend planned. In all likelihood, it would spoil the rest of the weekend . . . and I just wasn’t feeling going out.

I don’t chase happiness; I choose contentment.

In every step of my life, I (try) to choose to be present and comfortable. Happiness is an emotion – and it’s one othat I feel blessed to experience often and profoundly – but that’s it. I don’t want to spend my life constantly looking forward to the next thing and rushing through things in order to tick off a mental checklist: I want to spend my life satisified. I want to spend it content.

You know what this means? It means that I’m excited for my future; I’m excited to go on holidays and be married and enjoy university and travel . . . but it means that I’m more than happy in the present. Savouring the present. It means that I wake up every day with the knowledge that I enjoy my life. That, while I am always planning and working towards a future, my happiness isn’t tied into it. If that plan falls through, if I don’t get into university, if I never meet “the one” . . . I’ll still be content. I’ll still enjoy my life.

My emotional baseline is neutral; it’s mellow. Stable. Comfortable. And that is where I want it to stay.

***

This post ended up being a lot longer (and far more incoherent) than I thought it would be. I just have a lot of thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head, you know? I didn’t even really capture what I was trying say.

Anyways, I’m thinking of introducing a new segment into my blog: Wellness and Health. This would cover spirituality, personal thoughts and opinions, mental health etc. It’s an idea I’ve toyed with before, but kind of dismissed thinking that people wouldn’t be interested. However, one of the things that I love about starting this new blog is that it gives me a chance to be really authentic; I don’t have a massive niche audience that will be disappointed if I try something new – you guys are growing with the blog.

Let me know what your thoughts on that; I know this was a wildly disorganised post, but did any resonate with you? Share your ideas down below!

Peace,

Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter // Bloglovin’

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50 thoughts on “Why “Happiness” Is Not One Of My Goals.

  1. A shame the academically dull have ruined arts degrees. Authenticity is one of the key words for one of any society’s true creative thinkers who has actually GRADUATED. It has not been by accident that dull thinkers were herded into courses to break them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am LIVING for this post and I couldn’t have read it at a happier time….such pure awesomeness, I’m not gonna be forgetting this anytime soon!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ’•

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This post was very well-written and I could relate to everything you mentioned. There are so many times I wonder what life would be like without social media and how that would change my life? Would I be a happier person if I didn’t have to constantly compare every aspect of my life to others?
    You should definitely do more of these types of post, I really enjoyed it! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment; I really wasn’t sure if this post would be interesting to many people πŸ™‚ I wholeheartedly understand what you’re saying – it sounds weird to say, but I genuinely think social media is becoming an intrinsic part of who our society is. Thank you again for the feedback!xx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m old enough to remember life before social media. Socializing was a lot more expensive, because no matter where you go, someone wants to charge you for being there. Fortunately my nerdy friends and I had fairly cheap hobbies like Rocky Horror Picture Show, talking our ears off, and rolling dice to slay dragons on the weekends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was suuuuch an interesting post – I really feel like I used to spend so much time dreaming of a future when I’ll be happy that I didn’t realise I was wishing away the present. It’s so important to not constantly chase happiness, and fulfilment, and a life that looks perfect on Instagram. It’s so much more important to seek happiness not as in, the fleeting emotion, but as in the content state that you seem to be in! People rag on the idea of being content a lot but I’m really coming to see it as a version of happiness that isn’t as temporary, that doesn’t have to be chased as desperately. Sorry if this comment didn’t make much sense haha, I just have a lot of thoughts on this it’s so interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you very much! And I absolutely relate to you; I was the EXACT same and then I just kind of thought that like . . . as humans we’re CONSTANTLY setting goals and moving forwards. There’s always something to look forward to (whether that’s just a dream, or a tangible goal) and . . . what if we lived our WHOLE lives like that? People get through 30 years of work looking forward to retirement, but . . . what about those 30 years? It was kind of a big like “I don’t want to do that” moment for me at least πŸ™‚ Your comment totally made sense; thank you for taking the time to leave such an in depth and thought-provoking comment πŸ™‚ x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think different people have different brain chemistry. Some brains like high stimulus and their brains are easily self-stimulating (musicians), some brains like high stimulus but need external stimulus (people dancing to the music or jumping out of airplanes), or low stimulus people like monks and bookworms.

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  5. Wise words pour out of your mouth, Mia. Content is the watchword. I stopped chasing happiness a long time ago too because things are just not in our control. They can never be which is a good thing too because we humans are too controlling anyway. Spontaneity and content, I can live with both of them πŸ™‚ That was an excellent post. xx

    Like

  6. Wow, really great post. I can definitely relate to this – being content and experiencing moments of happiness, but not seeking constant happiness. You’re right – we’re taught from a young age to chase this, but it isn’t realistic. Thank you for this post. Keep writing. Wish you all the best – speak766

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I get what you are saying, and I think it’s a very interesting concept, but I think those people striving for that kind of ”happiness” isn’t the same definition as other people, it’s a showy happiness, not the contentment like you said from just being happy at a base level; sure bad times will come and go, but for lucky people their is still a base happiness. So you are fighting with your partner and are unhappy – but you still love them and know you want to work through it and will work through it – that’s a base happiness and contentment, because there is a struggle, but you know you’re both in it for the long haul – that’s possibly not a great example.
    My main desire in life is to just feel happy, and that’s not with the naivety of thinking there will never be struggles, or days where I don’t just think, “this is ****”, but where, even despite those trials there is a solid, reliable undercurrent of happiness. An for instance; “I love my job, even despite a rubbish week, I love my partner, even though we are having a hard time, I have children who mean the world to me, even if they are driving me up the wall most days…” that’s the kind of happiness I want, the kind of happiness I think a lot of people completely overlook and undervalue. Even in the really hard, rubbish times, I want to be happy in knowing that where I am, is where I’m meant to be, who I’m meant to be with, what I’m meant to be doing etc..
    Does that make any sense lol? Great post though! Love these types of post that leave you thinking πŸ™‚ x

    Like

    1. I would definitely agree with that! And I think that was a great example; I think our ideas of happiness and contentment are pretty interchangeable. Maybe I need another word for that material happiness? Hmmm…

      And I absolutely love that goal; its pretty much the same as mine. You described it perfectly; it’s completely undervalued and overlooked a lot of the time in favour of more “rush” type happiness.

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment; I’m glad the post resonated with You!xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This post is my favourite of yours by far! ❀ ❀ I agree…I never really thought about happiness being that way but when you put it in that context, I agree that being happy is such a momentary high and at times, too high of an expectation especially with the 'standard' that social media sets. In that case, I guess I don't really believe in happiness either πŸ˜› (or 'the one' for that matter – I think that's nonsense).

    I feel that emotions like being 'content' or 'mellow' get so slated, but they're actually my favourite emotions to be in because it means I'm grateful and my heart is full. I used to go clubbing but if I'm completely honest, I didn't really enjoy it that much – so one day I eventually woke up and decided I could honestly just say no to clubbing. Why do I have to follow sheep? Some people go on nights out because it's 'something to do' which basically means that it's not adding anything to their life…and girl, people used to call me boring too. But whatever, I don't need the acknowledgement of others to know my self-worth. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m genuinely so glad that people seem to like this kind of thing; I’ve wanted to write posts like this but been worried that people wouldn’t find them interesting πŸ™‚ Definitely agree with you on “the one”… like I just don’t see how the idea is even plausible.

      I absolutely love that. That’s the exact kind of idea that I wanted to convey; content and mellow arent boring and neutral, they just mean that youre comfortable and at peace. YES YES YES! Girl where were you when I was like 16πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ thanks for taking the time for this great comment lovely c

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s ridiculous to think that there is ‘the one’ because there could potentially be many ‘the ones’ for each person which makes the idea invalid. Also, I feel that this idea has in some way made people unhappy because some look too hard for ‘the one’ and end up overlooking the ones that are ‘just right’.

        Haha I was probably still figuring all this out when you were 16, who knows. πŸ˜›

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  9. Literally can’t explain how much I loved this post, when I read the title I was a bit like ??????? girl, what but upon further reading I completely understand where you’re coming from. The part about you being in on a Friday night – thanks for including that. I beat myself up sometimes because I decline going out drinking with my friends and instead stay home writing blog posts and listening to music that again, other people probably wouldn’t like / be impressed by since they’d think it was the lamest thing ever, but I really like it. I think chasing for constant ‘happiness’ the way it’s portrayed in its definition is like you said, unauthentic. I also think it makes you feel worse when you come down from that, because it leads you to believe you’re feeling sad when actually, you’re probably just feeling content but you can’t recognise it because you’ve been exposed to such a great high previously. Sorry for the essay comment but you really opened my eyes in this post, keep them coming .xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you😏 and I know – the title did seem rather emo “life sucks”😭 I’m so glad you understand where I’m coming from, though. It’s nice to know we arent the only ones that like to skip out on margarita night! See, things like this just make me wonder how many people secretly hate some of the “fun” things theyre doing…

      That.. is something I never even considered – thank you! What an absolutely brilliant point; and its so true. Thank you so much for the great comment lovely xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mia, you are a beautiful human being. I love your tone. There have been many moments I have loved going out and others I wanted nothing more than to stay in and read, catch up on my DVR and read other peoples blogs. Some people find this hard to believe, but sometime filling yourself up with sugar/booze, dealing with some dude grabbing your ass, and another blowing smoke in your face just doesn’t feel like living. Sometimes a night working out with a friend, making dinner and talking about life is just good for the soul! I completely agree with you that being present is happiness.

    https://kerielaine.com
    Keri Elaine

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Keri – so are you! Your lovely comments always make me smile 🌷 Exactly – its all about that balance and not chasing this idea of constant happiness! Go out when you want to go out, but be content and relaxed at home when you want to be. It’s definitely good for the soul; a little quiet and peace is great for getting in touch with your real self. Thanks for the lovely comment!x

      Liked by 1 person

  11. yes, yes, and yes! I agree with everything you said here. Like you said, when there is a high, there is a low. Plus, if we didn’t have difficult times, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the happy times. Also, I don’t see any problem with being content. Even though I do find myself striving for great adventures “all the time,” I know this is an unrealistic expectation, and I find myself wanting it when I’m scrolling through my insta feed, but I need this to remind myself that it’s only a painting of what that person has portrayed their life.
    Lots of love. xoxo

    Natalie | http://nataliesalchemy.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I agree; you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain! Now, I love an adventure don’t get me wrong – but I think we should stop FORCING ourselves to do things we don’t necessarily want but that we THINK we should want. Thanks for the comment lovely xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Also, I tactile property that this approximation has in some way made people distressed because some feeling too surd for ‘the one’ and remnant up overfeelinging the ones that are ‘just right hand’. LOL You could design for one little(a) escapade a calendar month and one bounteous one a year.

    Like

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