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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happiness = Fiction ?

I've recently become aware that I have spent the majority of my life buying into false pretenses of happiness. Well, some of them have just been shallow pretenses, others completely false. Examples of shallow happiness are: being happy because someone tells me i'm cute, being happy when someone buys me something, etc. Shallow pretenses of happiness are common and fairly harmless, I guess. It's not necessarily a bad thing to feel some sort of elation when you get a compliment or when you are surprised with a gift. Those things kinda make life a little more sparkly, you know? As long as you don't get entirely wrapped up in seeking those shallow moments out and making them the most important things in the world.... it's okay.

False pretenses, on the other hand, are all bad. They're also the hardest to let go of. An example of a false pretense of happiness is a bit more complex to describe. Think about a relationship that may appear to be healthy and happy from an outsiders perspective. But within the privacy of four walls, the relationship is on the brink of misery but the two ppl involved just dont know how to let go because they are all each other knows and without one another they swear they'll be unhappy. This is such a common false pretense of happiness. Happiness that is dependent on another person. On a lofty desire for a perfect relationship.

For myself, I have been caught up in selfish false happiness. I am the baby in my family. My siblings are 13 and 15 yrs older than me. I was spoiled. I was used to being the center of attention. And I was used to getting my way. This turned into me being a somewhat entitled adult. I thought I should get whatever I wanted, everyone should listen to me, things should go MY way and I should be able to do whatever I wanted to do and not be questioned about shit. My self-centered double-standard perception = happiness to me for the longest of time. You know, the whole ignorance is bliss mindset. Then I reached my early 20's and slowly but surely I was introduced to reality. God only knows how long I would've stayed in that fog of blind selfishness mistaking my vanity, conceit and rudeness as happiness. smh.

So now i've grown past that phase. But that leaves me wondering...what is happiness? How is it achieved? How do we know if its the real thing? Im left wondering if I have ever truly experienced being happy in my own skin. Happy with myself first and foremost. Then happy with my relationship, friendships, professional life, etc. What does it feel like? Is it something that lasts forever once you find it or does it ebb and flow depending on life and circumstance?

I'm a little bit overwhelmed with feeling as if I may never know the extent of my own happiness because I dont even know what i'm looking for....


GreyGirl said...

You're talking about a huge philosophical question here, so it's no wonder that you feel overwhelmed. I hear you. I personally think that happiness exists on different levels, and in different areas of one's life. I think that the overarching "are you happy?" question is really asking about three things: Are you happy with yourself? Are you happy with others (the people you choose to surround yourself with)? And are you happy in your work (this is whatever takes up your time, whatever you have decided to "do" with your life)? The answer to these questions may be different at different times, and, though the hope is that they all balance and line up, this may not always happen.

To answer your three main questions:

1. Happiness, to me, is a feeling of satisfaction and contentedness in a given area of your life.

2. It is achieved by cultivating appropriate relationships to people and surroundings, such that life goals, either explicit or implied, are met.

3. I think we know it's the real thing because it's not external, not dependent on a single person, a comment, a material thing. It's a general feeling. I think there's an "Aha" moment that comes along with this, a time when you reflect, and you realize how fortunate you are, and how at ease. I think that happiness brings a sense of balance.

Whatever it is to you, happiness, and the pursuit of it is far bigger than any one brainstorming session or blog post, so don't fret. We're all looking for the same thing!


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missextraordinary said...

I don't believe anyone will have the same definition of happiness as someone else. Everyone finds that they are truly happy at different points in their lives.

Chanel said...

GreyGirl, thank you for giving me a response that I will now sit and ponder on for the rest of the day. Such an amazing comment.

hotfemmeinthecity said...

I think loving yourself leads to happiness.

Chanel said...

@missextraordinary I agree. There are so many different perspectives of happiness.

@hotfemmeinthecity So true. It starts there.

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GreyGirl said...

@Chanel no problem :) Thanks for writing such a thought-provoking post!


etherealfyre.com said...

I think what Hotfemmeinthecity said is it!
Because I know that everything else in my life can and has gone wrong, but I wasn't unhappy. I wake up happy, sleep & groggy but happy. Why? Because I know that not everyone wakes up, not everyone has the simple things that we can take for granted at times. The fact that you've gotten another chance to make a difference is something to be happy about. You don't have to try to conquer the world's issues, it could be working on yourself.
External things can ADD to your happiness but it should never solely be responsible for your happiness.

Chanel said...

A friend of mine said that happiness is circumstantial and comes and goes. But being JOYFUL is a state of being that exists without any preconceived "things" that need to happen. If you have joy, you can find something to smile about even while going through the storm. I really get a lot from that.

Anonymous said...

Magnificent! (As usual. :-P )

KDaddy said...

Happiness is an illusion, a reaction to perceived emotional and physical input based on a predefined set of parameters defined by both the person perceiving it and the environment around that person and could be looked at using the programming terms "if," "else," "then," and "otherwise do."

Certain things combine to produce a biochemical reaction in our brains that we perceive and interpret as being happy or, that which makes us feel good makes us happy... sometimes.

There's no such thing as false happiness; you're either happy or not and this emotional state can change based on other input, either internal or external. For instance, eating pussy makes you happy; the person attached to the pussy can make you unhappy with their input during this act or even lack thereof.

Is the happiness you feel in this false? No; eating pussy doesn't make you unhappy - but eating HER pussy does. This is what I call letting someone else steal our joy and when we allow this to happen - even if it's our fault - well, we're now unhappy about something we're usually happy about.

You can take this cause and effect thing and apply to anything you care to mention because the happiness is never false or even misplaced - but it can be impacted because you can make yourself unhappy or be made to be unhappy by external sources.

You can see this at work by simply asking yourself why you're unhappy about something - what happened that you were happy... but now you're not. It does not mean that you were never happy but something had to have happened to invoke the negative feeling, yes?

Think about it...

Chanel said...

@Kdaddy There is a lot to unpack in your comment.

"There's no such thing as false happiness; you're either happy or not and this emotional state can change based on other input, either internal or external"

Never thought about it like that. I immediately assigned false or legit to the actual feeling of happiness based on what made u happy. But you've presented the idea that nothing can produce a false sense of happiness. Hmm. I need to re-read your comment and take it all in to process.

Sunny said...

This is a tuff question.

Happiness can be different things to different people.

Great post...mos def one that makes you think!!

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