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Discuss personal development, self-improvement and motivational psychology.
5 posts • Page 1 of 1
I am not a happy person. When I tell people this, they infer that I am unhappy. They assume my status is binary: either I'm a joyous triumph, or I'm a miserable wretch. They recognize no spectrum, only two states of being: HAPPY or UNHAPPY. But I've never felt "happy" I've felt joy, I've felt bliss. But those feelings are ephemeral. Being "happy" implies permanence. It implies you completed all the prerequisites and now you get to sit atop your giant pile of happy, forever. It implies you won. You beat the end boss. You made it. You're a triumph. You're incredible. You're whole.
When I disparage the idea of happiness, the counter-argument is always the same: "Oh, I know, it's all about the journey." But that's not it, either. The conversation about "the journey" is always Coupled with the idea that the journey is a joyous one, rich with smiles and fun and laughter. Also, journeys require endpoints, otherwise You're not Frodo, you're just a Homeless guy wandering around with stolen jewelry.
The problem with "happy" is alot like the problem with Pluto. Several years ago, Pluto lost its designation as a planet, which caused alot of uproar. But Pluto itself was never the problem. It's our definition of "planet" that was the problem. "Planet" comes from a Greek word, meaning "wanderer" and was used to describe bodies that move in the sky against a fixed background of stars. It was a vague way of describing a complex thing. Does a planet move in a fixed orbit around the sun? Does it clear a path within the orbit? Does it have moons? Does it have a certain size? These were the questions that arose when we clarified the definition of "Planet." These were the smart questions that got Pluto downgraded. Pluto is no longer a planet because our definition of planet wasn't very good. Im not "happy" because our definition of happy isn't very good.
It's a monochromatic word used to describe a rich, painful spectrum of human feeling. Our sense of happiness is so brittle, it can be destroyed simply by asking wether or not it exists.
Maybe i'm just just built differently. Maybe I was born anxious and angry and this is how I find piece with the universe. Maybe I truly am miserable, and everyone else is feeling something I'm not. Or maybe they're all full of shit. It's irrelevant. Because I'm not happy, and I don't pretend to be. Instead, I'm busy. I'm interested. I'm fascinated.
I do things that are meaningful to me, even if they don't make me happy.
I RUN. I run fifty miles at a time. I run over mountains until my toenails fall off. I run until my feet bleed and my skin burns and my bones scream.
I READ. I read long, complicated books about very smart things, and I read short, silly books about very stupid things. I read until thier stories are more fascinating to me than the people actually around me.
I WORK. I work for eight hours a day. I work until a can't think straight and I forget to feed myself and the light outside dims to a tired glow. I work until I smell weird.
When I do these things, I'm not smiling or beaming with joy. I'm not happy. In truth, when I do these things, I'm often suffering. But I do them because I find them meaningful. I find them compelling. I do these things because I want to be tormented and challenged and interested. I want to build things, and then break them. I want to be busy and beautiful and brimming with ten-thousand moving parts.
I want to hurt so that I can heal.
I'm not happy. I'm just busy. I'm interested.
And that's okay. For now.
Happiness is an emotion, not a condition or state of being.
Americans use this word when they should use fulfilled or contented. If you are neither of these, put effort into figuring out WHAT would make you this way.
Americans make being content dogmatic to being a permanent state whereas emotions cannot persist themselves as such. However, emotions can cache themselves; they dissipate and revert to a null and void state and revert again into existence at a later time; sometimes it's "SICKlical" (spelled as cyclical I know - take the simile for what it is).
It's time to expatriate to evade your fate; it's time to expatriate before the barn door permanently closes on "US" sheep.
- Follow me on Twitter @eirizarryRNB
If you're living a life that has some kind of meaning, a life that makes sense in some way, one that satisfies you somehow even if it comes with some pain, and you're living according to your values, then I'd say that should be considered happiness. Or if happiness isn't the right word, then some other word, but that kind of life isn't bad or unhappy. It's fulfilling. You're using, stretching, applying yourself. You're vividly being who you are, and being an outlet for whatever is inside you.
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