“They do that because society tells them that’s how they achieve success.”
I probably say that more than I care to admit. When it comes to issues of health, career or personal struggles, I often see people following a path set by society. If you make a lot of money, you will be successful. If you become successful, you’ll be able to buy lots of things. If you buy lots of things, you’ll be happy.
The truth is that, while money can buy things, it can’t buy happiness. What is success, really, without happiness?
Success is nothing without happiness. People are succumbing to stress, anger and depression because the things they were told would lead to happiness have only lead to emptiness. I imagine many people around the world don’t even realize those negative emotions have become commonplace in their lives. This is why they overeat, over drink and/or over medicate.
I’m not saying this is the one and only answer. The problems of the world are for more complex than that. I do believe this faulty path we have been told will lead to happiness is partly to blame, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at the root of many issues. We can’t even see that we are depressed or angry because we’ve been told every action we’ve taken is tailored to result in happiness. How could it all have been wrong?
I was thinking about this the other day when my dear blogger friend Kylie mentioned (and later wrote a blog post about) feeling insecure when her love of the indoors was scrutinized. We’re suppose to love the outdoors. We’re supposed to be athletic and run around in the sunshine. Ironically, we’re also supposed to happily sit in an office 40 hours a week in order to earn money, thereby affording our athletic play.
As another person who tends to like indoors more than outdoors, I feel for Kylie. I enjoy looking outside, especially during a rain storm. Weather can create excellent backdrops for reading and writing. Also, bug are gross, but seem to find me alluring. I don’t like them around me. Maybe these are all petty reasons for disliking the outdoors, but it’s just a preference. It’s not like I don’t enjoy the outdoors. I just like being inside a little better.
How often are we told what we should want or desire? My boyfriend will sometimes lament that he isn’t good-looking enough for me, a criticism which I completely disagree with. He’s no body builder, but then, I’m no swim suit model and he think I look great. I think he sees the men plastered over magazines and movie covers, thinking that’s how he should look and that’s what I should desire. That’s certainly what society likes to perpetuate.
I know how he feels, because it took me a long time to really like how I look. While I think I have reached that, it’s still a battle. I’m changing every day. Age gradually makes me look a little different. I have to learn to admire and accept every little change that comes my way.
There are a lot of things we use to measure our value which provide no real value at all. Money, fashion, expensive things – what is it all worth if we aren’t happy with our life?
Do we ever stop, literally stop, and just meditate on ourselves? Who are we and what defines us? What does a happy future look like to the person you are? Disregard what society says happiness looks like. We can only discover happiness for ourselves by getting to know our own spirit.
I sometimes joke about how every major decision in my life has been met with disagreement from my father. We’re supposed to make our parents happy, right? They’re the ones who give us the tools to succeed. Yet, they have been fed the same message we have. Do they know who their children really are enough to know what will and won’t bring them happiness.
My father was against my choice in college major. He was against my choice of college. He was against my study abroad experience. These three things, along with a few other major decisions, have put me where I am today. I know he was just looking out for what he thought was best, but I had to take a stand. I had to know myself and what I needed for happiness. My father was not the one living my life. While his opinions were heard, I had to be the ultimate decision maker.
The same might be said for society. don’t think our culture is trying to trick us. Instead, as a group, we have developed a society which believes money and possessions equal happiness. That’s the end goal: happiness.
We have to think outside of society, sometimes. The things we know we’d enjoy, the things that would bring us happiness, are not always the things society will smile upon. That’s okay. If you ask me, it’s better to be true to yourself, regardless how society reacts, then it is to pretend to be someone you’re not.
What misguided things do you think we’re told bring happiness? Are those that tell us those messages coming from a place of concern or malice? What things bring true happiness to you? Have you ever struggled to come to terms with something odd that makes you happy? How did you come to accept yourself?