Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. - Jim Rohn
For eons, humanity has been on the lookout for absolute happiness. Although no one has an accurate definition for the word itself, everyone depicts the feeling accordingly. While happiness for some represents a relative feeling for the great majority, happiness has been declared to be their sole goal in life, some might even say that we were born in life in search of the ultimate happiness.
"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and the end of human existence," Aristotle said.
Many people support Aristotle's claim and live by this philosophy as they do believe that life is centred around happiness and that without it, it isn't regarded as life at all.
but is it though?
I too for some times have believed this notion and lived my life accordingly. Everything I did, was wrapped around the idea of me catching the next stop in the train of happiness while neglecting every other motion I came across in my journey. What changed now is that I stopped putting my life on hold until reaching absolute happiness, and I started treating it as every other feeling, where I live it to the fullest when it presents itself and then move on with my life for in my opinion, there is no such thing as ultimate happiness rather happy moments that are scattered here and there.
Raymond Belliotti says: "My argument goes further. Happiness is not the greatest personal good, nor always a great personal good, and is sometimes not a personal good at all. Living a valuable, significant, robustly meaningful life is of greater personal value than attaining happiness. Although happiness will often flow from such lives, the connection is not ensured. Happiness is overrated in the sense that despite all the sound and fun it inspires, happiness is not the primary goal to which we should aspire."
Raymond here unlocks the door to an argument most of us overlook or deem as one, where sometimes living a meaningful life doesn't exactly embrace the concept of happiness, the same goes for living a happy life which doesn't reflect on living meaningfully. One such example of that is the life of Nelson Mandela where he lived a meaningful life but that was mostly filled with pain and struggle. Hence, if you are set on living a purposeful life, know that happiness is nothing but a fleeting sensation that you will come across now and then and not the end goal on which you should aim.
Happiness is over calculated!?
People spend half of their time searching for happiness, while they spend the other half in fear and worry of never finding it. We calculate, make plans, and set goals, however the moment we fail one thing, it is as if we have failed our whole existence. Thus, entering ourselves a loop of neverending what-if's, what if I live my whole life without reaching happiness? What if I had lived for nothing? What if this and what if that until worry eats the best of us. But what we forget is that the essence of life lies within the heartbreaks, the failures, the disappointments, and ugly cries. I am not saying that we shouldn't enjoy life, but that life doesn't need to be set upon the goal of reaching the ultimate happiness rather than enjoying the fleeting moments of joy we get every once in a while.
Happiness, by all means, shouldn't be the main concern of our existence nor should we live by the limitations it conceives in our minds. So, stop chasing happiness and start living your life as you have it, within the ups and downs, because one day will come a moment where you will question if the happiness you finally possess is worth the life you missed on living.
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- BELLIOTTI, R. A. Y. M. O. N. D. A. N. G. E. L. (2003). CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHICAL VIEWS. In happiness is overrated (pp. 92–93). ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHERS. INC.
- P. F. Jonah Li, Y. Joel Wong & Ruth C.-L. Chao (2019): Happiness and meaning in life: Unique, differential, and indirect associations with mental health, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/09515070.2019.1604493
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