Why Are We So Unhappy?
Happiness: We all want it, yet we’re all too stubborn (or lazy?) to get it.
I should write a book.
I should start working out.
I should eat healthier.
I should start a business.
I should call my friend to see how she’s doing.
Yes, you should do all of those things. So why aren’t you doing it? I’ll take a guess: You’re scared and/or lazy.
We all claim we have these amazing goals to make our lives better, yet we don’t take steps to achieve them — probably for reasons including mental and physical exhaustion, lack of time and money, and general life overwhelm.
While those reasons may seem justifiable on the surface, all they really are are excuses.
And what happens when we set out to do something and don’t get it done? We feel guilty. And that guilt eats at us and reinforces the (false) idea that we aren’t good enough or smart enough to carry out our dreams. We know we’ve let ourselves down so we stop trying in order to avoid those uncomfortable feelings from coming back.
Happiness = Bliss Which Is Fleeting
Maybe the problem is that “happiness” isn’t the right term we’re all pining for. Terms like “fulfillment” and “satisfaction,” which sound annoyingly self-helpy, are definitely more fitting.
If you aren’t feeling happy with your job, your relationship, your body, your mental state, your anything, it’s because there is a lack of fulfillment and purpose somewhere. Figuring out how to feel fulfilled is the kicker.
Here’s a fun afternoon exercise for you:
Instead of thinking about things that make you happy, (fresh avocado toast, a new outfit, 100 Instagram likes), think about things that make you feel fulfilled. What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? What makes you feel giddy? What makes you not care about anything else in the world when you’re doing it?
For me, it’s writing an article that’s so good it makes someone reading it feel inspired to get up off the couch and start whatever it was they were too afraid to start. It’s meeting up with my best friend for a glass of champagne at the end of a long day. It’s watching my son laugh so hard he falls off the couch.
Do you see the difference? Feeling fulfilled and satisfied stems from physically being with other people, or helping people in some genuine way. Happiness is short-lived, and typically only involves you. You feel happy after you get your hair done. You feel happy on your day off. You feel fulfilled after spending a weekend on the beach with your family.
My advice, if you feel like you’re in a slump and can’t find the motivation to do the things you actually want to do? Stop talking about it. Stop overthinking it. Stop going at it on your own. Start doing it — and start doing it with people you love and trust.
Important note: Still do things that make you happy (going to sushi dinner, getting a new living room rug), but do more of what makes you feel fulfilled.
Thanks for reading!