"If you want to be happy, be." -Leo Tolstoy
This might sound like a bit of a bold statement, but it is the truth: I gave up on worrying about my happiness a long time ago
. I know it is a shock to read a declaration so blatant in nature, however, I reassure you that it is the truth. My truth at least. The emotions of happiness and sadness I categorize as "extreme feelings", which we appear to experience daily due to our circumstances. Our emotions fluctuate most times depending on the events that are occurring in our lives at that very moment. It's normal. As many people can attest to, the difficulty can sometimes be in finding the essential balance of those severe emotions, which can be tricky. Yet, at the end of the day, it appears that everyone is on this continuous quest to search for activities to make them happy. So why is happiness something that I do not spend much time searching for, nor prioritize on my list of goals to achieve? Well, I will tell you right now that my perspective might not be very inspiring, but I am sure that it will be insightful.
The concept of doing whatever makes you happy, I consider being a two way street of positives and negatives depending upon the person. Activities that are self-harming can still be seen as "fun" to a person, which can cause them to have those brief moments of temporary happiness. Despite their unconscious desire to do whatever it takes to achieve immediate gratification, a wise observer might recognize that this person is overly self-indulgent. I had taken a class my junior year of undergrad, which gave an in-depth analysis of the four different types of happiness personalities that most people have, according to psychologist Robert Spitzer. He explains that the type of overly self-indulgent person I described above, would be considered a Level 1 individual who, "represents my fundamental drivers in life such as physical pleasure, immediate gratification, and excitement."
This type of person typically hinges their lifestyle around the desire to constantly be made happy at the moment, at the risk of never being satiated due to their obsession with instantaneous satisfaction. For some people, this can become a dangerous addiction if they are not perceptive of their habitual practice to prioritize their immediate happiness, at the cost of their personal dignity.
One of the great things about free will is that you have the choice to decide and pursue those things which make you happy. However, I would advise against letting that pursuit of happiness define your goals in life. Not everyone is happy 24/7, no matter how much they would like or strive to be. Life is complicated sometimes, and everyone's journey is unique. The bumps and bruises that accompany a person's journey can cause them to become discouraged, bitter, and even regretful. Those are not times of happiness, because naturally, your emotions are on a downward spiral. Learn how to not crack under the pressure of your own personal trials through some tips I shed light on, in my most recent post: Who Are You, Exactly?
One way to compensate for misspent energy on the constant search for the ever-elusive feeling of happiness is to replace it with the desire for serenity. For me, my belief and faith in God help me to stabilize my conscience. The understanding that amid chaos I will be okay because of my belief, helps me to rationalize that inner peace and joy are more consistent than the ever-fleeting happiness. The recognition that the constant search for happiness can drive someone almost to the brink of insanity, after coming to the realization that they will never have enough of it, is crucial to one's health both physically and mentally. We all know the story of the materialistic millionaire who finds out that no matter how much he/she tries to "buy happiness" through the acquisition of tangible items, he/she still feels an emptiness, a void in their heart, which is incidentally NOT made of gold.
The mantra of the day states that you must do whatever makes you happy...Yes, that does have a "nice ring to it." However, I would advise people to understand that they will continue to be disappointed in their desire to attain happiness, since it is an emotion that comes and goes like the wind. It is fine to learn new things that can contribute to you feeling happy for the moment; but that's just it: recognize that it is momentary
. Try your best to find that inner stability, whose longevity is far greater than that of happiness, which can be a flash in pan. Again, this is just my perspective on what I believe to be the truth about happiness. Feel free to let me know if you agree, disagree, or have another point of view that I am oblivious to.
"Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened."- Dr. Seuss