Just as water runs downhill, the human heart also tends to revert to its basest instincts…
Misconception #1: Happiness is Random
This is still a very common myth about happiness and it is completely plausible to assume that happiness has no rules. For all we know, it could come or go just like the wind.
Why? Simply because happiness is complicated, most people don’t know what triggers it. If you ask someone (try it and you will see) what happiness is they might answer with a stream of buzz phrases [such as health, money, friends, family, job security etc.] Are they right? Well, yes and no.
In general, all of these things have the potential to increase how content we feel, but only if we know how to make gratitude a larger part of our lives. For instance, it can teach us how we can enhance our life through the little things.
While happiness seems like a complicated concept, it appears to be as random as roulette. Although, we know, roulette is far from random, we continue to believe that such a thing as ‘randomness’ actually exists…Truth be told, we simply do not know all the parameters of roulette, just as we do not know the exact ‘mechanisms of happiness’. Like with roulette, if we knew all parameters, we could predict the winning number with almost every turn. Psychologists may claim that we have not discovered all the pillars of happiness yet, but even if this statement was not false, we would still know enough about happiness to know that we can influence our emotional state to make our lives more fulfilling.
Misconception #2: Happiness is Either Given To You or Not
As you may know, true happiness is unconditional. This means that it does not abide by the conditional factors, upon which we base our moods, lives, even our very identity. Therefore, half of our conditional happiness is determined by our genes, so [to some extent] happiness is given. However, the other half of conditional happiness is affected by our lifestyle [i.e. what we do on a daily basis]. Ultimately, how happy we are on a conditional level is our responsibility. Conversely, if we do not understand how happiness works, then it will seem as though happiness is given to some more freely, whereas others cannot find any at all. Once we know that conditional happiness is a byproduct of other things, which are equally as conditional, we may grasp the concept of unconditional happiness. Prior to the ebb and flow of real life, happiness is neither given nor self-made: It is an infinite state of being that co-exists eternally with our finite existence. Anyway, since few can imagine being truly happy in the complete absence of anything physical, we must first focus on the part of our happiness that we feel we have control over [however imaginary or non-externalised said control may be].
Misconception #3: I’ll be happy when I achieve…
Have you ever thought that if you only would achieve X or Y, you will be happy for the rest of your life?
I did and I jumped from one achievement to another always expecting to find happiness eventually. Not only does it not work, it is the nature of the mind that drives us to such behaviour. Sure, we are content for a short time after achieving a goal, but the level of happiness drops soon after [accompanied by feelings of frustration].
It is grim, yet sobering realisation that happiness does not work in that way. We might hope our next successful endeavour or any other single event will bring sustaining happiness, but it is condemned to end in disillusionment and disappointment. Relying on a single event to make us happy permanently is the same as eating a large meal with the expectation to never be hungry again. We are all morons, falling for the same con repeatedly, myself included. However, the solution is hiding in plain sight…Just as we need to nourish our bodies regularly, we need to foster happiness with the same regularity. Imagine happiness as a puzzle, which requires multiple different pieces to form the whole picture. If we miss out some or mistakenly place them in the wrong field, a part of the whole picture will need to be reassembled and put together the right way…