What’s Keeping Our Generation From Happiness

If I had 5 seconds of pure happiness for every time someone told me I am always happy,  I would have enough sunshine and rainbows to cheer the whole word.

The reality is: nobody is happy all the time. 

More often than I’d like to admit, I find myself on a downward spiral analyzing my life trying to find out where I went wrong.  Why is it that at one given moment I am completely satisfied with life and so on top of my to-do’s, goals and aspirations and a minute later seriously wondering if life is this empty and meaningless for everyone while eating everything I said I wouldn’t, lazily procrastinating, and avoiding all human interaction?

Usually, I just settle for the conclusion that I am being too introspective, and I am an over-emotional, hormonal woman. But lately, I have been swaying on the brink of a new conclusion.

In today’s society, it seems life is mostly about self-satisfaction, comfort and convenience, self-indulgence, and instant gratification.

Seriously, how many times a day do you hear, “treat yourself”? Or how many times have you heard, “If your job, spouse or situation just isn’t making you happy get out and find a new one that’s going to make you happy, or better yet don’t tie yourself down to anything”? EVERYTHING is based on our own personal satisfaction and this fleeting emotion of happiness removed from the context of long-suffering, endurance, and commitment. Happiness is like this magical state of constant bliss we are all trying to attain which is actually making us miserable.

And here’s why:

There is no such thing as a job, or a place to live, a girlfriend, or a gender identification, a political party, or even a God that is going to make you 100% happy all the time, probably not even 80 or 70 percent of the time!

A wise man, aka my awesome boyfriend, once told me, feeling any emotion for an extended or inappropriate amount of time is unhealthy – even if it’s happiness. It’s healthy to feel a range of emotion.

Though we have accomplished putting a man on the moon, science shows we are still incapable of suppressing a singular emotion. Meaning if we suppress an undesired emotion in an attempt to feel positive emotions, we are actually suppressing them all, including the ones we want to feel!

This is where the paradox strides in.

We are so obsessed with being forever happy we are killing our only chance at enjoying any wave of happiness that does come. 

So often I doubt, become dissatisfied and distressed because of this stupid belief that I am supposed to feel happy 24 hours a day. It’s a trap to believe if something is no longer serving me then I should dispose of it right away whether it’s a relationship, my faith, or even my dreams in life. Happiness is a reward which often lies on the other end of hardship, and we’re never going to get there if we keep quitting everything that is hard or makes us feel something besides pleasure.

Sure there are times when it is appropriate to cut off an unhealthy friendship or change your career to something that aligns more closely with your values, or whatever it might be. I am not opposed to changing and shaping our lives within the small realm of control we do have. I am saying, however, our culture is in hyper-quit anything and everything the moment it doesn’t have you on cloud nine mode, and I am curious to see how feelings of reward and contentment in this generation would increase if we stopped obsessing with only feeling good, comfortable… “happy.”

I don’t want 2018 to be my year of happiness. I want 2018 to be the year I stuck it out even when it sucked, and I hated it, and I cried all the way through. And I want 2019 to be the year I can look back seeing all the beauty which came out of what only time can bloom through endurance for the joy set before.

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