Happiness is not the same as pleasure… Happiness does not require lowering one’s expectations… Happiness is not the same as positivity… Happiness is the process of becoming your ideal self.
It’s a thought-provoking title that I came across, and this article reminded me of a quote that I stumbled upon months ago on tumblr that criticized our cultural pursuit of happiness. It was the first time I ever read a viewpoint so drastically different and critical and it shaped how I kind of felt or thought about “happiness.” It took forever to dig through and find the quote, but I eventually did and I feel like my spring break has been accomplished. Just kidding.
"I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep,” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position—it’s rubbish.Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much.Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”-Hugh Mackay
I like this definition of happiness through wholeness (like the above quote) and actualization of our self (like the article above). There are articles that write how happiness is now synonymous with the actualization of pleasure, and the above article quips how easy it would be to achieve that via drugs, alcohol, and sex since they all release dopamine that controls our perception of pleasure. Seriously, I could be happy all day with those three, but it really does no good for my balance of being. Redefining happiness as wholeness and self-actualization focuses less so on doing to try and fuel the feelings of pleasure, and more so on the state of being.