It’s no secret that more people are unhappy than ever before. Unhappy with their lives, unhappy with their careers, unhappy with their spouse, and most of all unhappy with themselves. Happiness has become some intangible emotion that we are always reaching for, yet never able to firmly grasp. As soon as you think you have it, it seems to slip from your hands. As Americans, we live in the richest and most privileged country on earth, yet we have some of the least happy people. Why?
The False Persona
Too many of us judge our interior lives through the lens of other people’s outward appearances. She’s got so much nicer things than me. God, it must be nice to have a husband that makes that kind of money. Why did I get stuck with him? He’s so much more successful than I am. If I had that position or worked for that company, I could be happy too. If only I was thin…If only I was younger…more attractive. We put the blame of happiness on something we’re missing that’s “out there”. Those people have what we think will make us happy, so they must be right? But the reality is that they are just as empty inside as you are. They may be able to hide it better beneath their fortune and fame, but it’s still there.
The Great Lie
The great lie is that we’re unhappy now because we’re missing something. We believe that once we get what we’re missing, things will all make sense, and we’ll live happily ever after, but we won’t. In fact, we may be unhappier than ever because we’ve run out of hope. I always find it mind-blowing to see videos or images of people living in third world countries where they seem so happy. They have nothing, yet they wear more smiles than the rest of us. I believe the reason for this is gratitude. Few Americans are ever satisfied with what they have. The constant stream of images on the internet and t.v. remind us that there’s something bigger and better than what we’ve got, hints the reason we’re never satisfied. People in third-world countries have nothing, so anything they get they feel blessed to have. Embrace life with gratitude instead of demands, and you’ll probably find yourself much more content.
Live Your Story
Above all, too many of us try to live other people’s lives. Each and every one of us has our own story to tell, yet we insist that our story is no good, and we need someone else’s. No one’s story is perfect. Everyone has problems, and we tend to forget that. You are the main character of your own story. No one in the world can play that role better than you. Happiness begins by accepting your story and thriving in it rather than continually looking for a new role to play.
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc
I’m just nodding my head as I read this. We must be content with what we have. The poorest of people can be the happiest, simply because they appreciate every item they receive, every moment they’re given, every aspect of their life. They’re not distracted by luxuries or the world.
What’s sad, is that I’ve known people who have left third world countries to come here, only to find themselves falling into that same trap of unhappiness and seeking. We have so much to be grateful for and we should never be in want of anything that anyone else has. Everything we need or could ever want is within our grasp. All we have to do is open our eyes to see it.
Completely agree. We’re determined to temporarily fix the void inside of us by trying to stuff it full of external things instead of healing it at the root.