How Not To Be Happy

Someone was telling me the other day that she wasn’t happy because she couldn’t find at least half an hour each day to reflect on the possibility of being happy – certain people in particular and the world in general were plotting to make her miserable, while she had nothing to do with it. I will refrain from any comment on this person’s choices and lifestyle (sometimes I’m actually able to choose my battles), but I will say this much, it made me think of my own issues with happiness.

Writing and deleting paragraphs after paragraphs, followed by good old-fashioned procrastination made one thing clear: writing that nice, serene, inspiring post on happiness is simply not in the cards for me, not this week at least. Grace, serenity and joy seem somehow out of reach when you’ve spent several days chasing the guys who’re supposed to fix your heating (to no foreseeable result, I might add), when you woke up with a terrible toothache and your dentist can’t see you soon enough, and when the three year old upstairs seems to be training for a bawling tournament using the living room furniture for pins. Oh, and it’s December again…

I would lie if I said I’m happy right now – the best the control freak in me can hope for is to keep calm and perceive the reality for what it is rather than escalate the situation. But even if I am not happy right now, I am content. So instants of happiness will follow, because the negative aspects are more or less ordinary ones, and in spite of everything, I’m looking forward to Christmas, I like this time of year. I have no absolute recipe for happiness, I know each and every one of us has to personalize their approach and learn how to be content. But I do know many ingredients that will ensure one’s success in not reaching that elusive feeling of content – tested and/or witnessed by yours truly.

Thinking you’re too good for happiness, now that’s a classic. It works wonders, especially for those of us who are ambitious and have been taught to never settle – always strive for more than what you’ve got, aim high, being happy with what you have is a sign of weakness and mediocrity. It can take years to learn that being happy with one’s life and thankful for what one has accomplished is neither wrong, nor the death of ambition and growth.

Unrealistic, unreasonable expectations go hand in hand with lack of flexibility and adaptability. So if you’re sick and tired of all that exasperating happiness in your life, just set some impossible goals for yourself or for those around and that will no longer be a problem.

Sometimes less is more, so one sure way of avoiding happiness is to only accept it under the guise of flashy, loud, extraordinary moments. Don’t even consider taking a moment to appreciate nature or any of the small, understated events, or you might risk not feeling miserable anymore.

There are people out there who constantly learn new things, they keep their minds and souls open to new information and new experiences, to growth and understanding, but most importantly, they accept their own views might occasionally need to be altered. Since they seem to find more peaceful content and happiness than many others, one should remember to avoid such endeavours. Just remember your truth is the only valid one, you already know everything worth knowing, and you’ll be perfectly fine and miserable, no risk of happiness there.

The problem with being happy is… that other people are happy and/or can be happy too. So if it’s something so trivial, so mediocre and common, why even bother, especially when other people’s happiness might be better and brighter than yours? Content should only be accepted if no one else – at least no one you might know – can flaunt it. But damn that grass, it’s always greener on the other side of the fence, so that’s a sure sign you should ignore the grass in your own yard, let it wither and die, it’s certainly not worth having.

Last but not least on my brief list, my pet peeve. By all means, make your happiness anybody and everybody else’s responsibility. So what if you have no clue what might make you happy and have no intention to put in the work necessary in order to figure it out? They should know, they should find a way. Since “they” will most likely not manage to do so, you can relax, there’s probably no danger of any sudden pangs of happiness disturbing your pity party. And best of all, it’s “their” fault, not yours.

Right… now that I’ve enumerated a few sure ways to avoid happiness – at least from what I’ve seen and experienced – I have to admit that I’m trying my best to avoid them. I’m one of those people who have to focus on finding those little nuggets of happiness, hoping to feel content with my life, at least occasionally. Thank you, Ann-Christine (Lens-Artists Challenge – Happiness Is…), for reminding me how important it is to be grateful for those beautiful moments and people I have in my life. Your timing was great, now that the holidays are looming and so many of us may have a hard time dealing with them. For me, December is always a month of contemplation and taking stock of the year about to end. It may not have been the greatest or the easiest of years, but there have been great moments, I felt alive and I’ve even been happy once in a while. On the whole, I can say I am content. So I’m sharing a few images taken in some of those great instances. I found my happiness in moments big and small alike – traveling, writing, spending time with people I’ve missed, appreciating nature and moments of peace, as well as some louder, wilder ones.


29 Replies to “How Not To Be Happy”

  1. Contentment is a pretty good place to be in. So is peacefulness and harmony. And, as you so cleverly stated in this post, happiness comes in many sized packages. I wish you a great variety of happiness in the new year. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well…… that is one great essay, I must admit and the photos that came along with it. I thought about this exercise and my first thought that I did not include in my post is that happiness is overrated! The minute I know that I am happy, poof, it’s gone. Besides, happiness is a byproduct of having what you want. What if you just can’t have it? One thing though, I totally agree with being content.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked the text. I can understand the “happiness is overrated” point of view, it’s such a complex matter (that might make for a good post all on its own, if you feel like it). What I think is really sad… is when one does eventually get what one thinks they wanted, only to realize that particular aspect was neither as important, not as desirable as they thought; in fact they don’t even really want it anymore.


  3. “It can take years to learn that being happy with one’s life and thankful for what one has accomplished is neither wrong, nor the death of ambition and growth.” A great take on “Happiness is…”, Ana. Cynical, straight forward and the lead word: content. I enjoyed every twist and turn in your text, smiling often and feeling – content. Thank you for joining in, and I am happy you found the challenge useful as well. Have a great weekend, with fixed heating, tooth and kids;-D

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m pleased it was an enjoyable read, I was hoping it sounded funny, not too mean or serious. As for the tooth, heating and kid, let’s just hope next week is a better one. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed the bit of cynicism in his to not be happy….
    and the photo after the yours truly fit with that thought so well – and then followed by the yellow flowers – well nice take on the happiness is prompt…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A bit cynical might be more my style than “inspirational” 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it, Yvette, and I hope your blogging break was a good one (very nice photos in your recent posts, btw).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Ana – my break is still sort of happening – so I scheduled some posts for next few days – will
        Share more later –
        And it was still
        Inspirational with all your realness here – and some folks sure do sabotage happiness eh?
        And nice weaving in of contentment

        Liked by 1 person

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