I think we often feel like we should be chasing happiness. We want to be happier and we just want to feel better. We want to escape a little bit from the stress!
I think it’s our human nature to chase happiness wherever it can be found. Unfortunately the easiest places to find it are not the places we want to spend our lives. I want to share with you why I think chasing happiness is making us miserable.
Happiness is a lie.
The pursuit of happiness is making us miserable because, number one, it’s a lie. When I say happiness, I mean those things that we chase to make us feel better temporarily.
Our brain is hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
We do not want to feel pain, and we will basically do anything to find a little bit of pleasure. In your life that might be you scroll through Facebook, sometimes you have a chocolate chip cookie, you go online and shop, or you have things that you shouldn’t have.
Online shopping was always my buffer of choice. It could be even worse than shopping or worse than food, maybe you drink too much or smoke too much.
You’re seeking pleasure.
You’re seeking happiness.
You’re seeking ANYTHING to help you feel better.
Often when we do that, in the end it’s worse, because what we’re choosing is instant gratification. We all have buffers, there’s no shame in it, but recognizing them can be really helpful. Many times when we’re chasing this sort of temporary feel better and temporary happiness, what we’re forsaking in the process is true, deep, abiding, joy and meaning.
When we’re chasing this instant gratification, the thing that we’re trading for it is the actual life we want to live. We almost never get there by food, or money or status or drink or whatever else. We’re chasing cheap happiness, and it’s a lie.
We should only feel good feelings?
I’ve seen what we all do as a culture, and what I’ve done myself when I have been in periods of my life when I feel like I should always feel good, and that I should always be happy. We see other people and we think, “She’s always happy. I wish my life could be like hers.”
I’m having a pretty good day today. I went to the gym, I slept well, there’s no huge crisis. But yesterday I had a crummy day, I felt terrible.
The day before yesterday, I dropped my baby off to college. I took her from this tiny little secluded town where we live in East Tennessee, and I dropped her off in downtown Pittsburgh. As we were hugging each other before my husband and I left to head back home, she said, “Mom, I’m terrified.” It basically took me until this morning to recover.
If you look at my circumstances, I have everything I could ever wish for in a way, and yet I still have awful feelings, sad days, and days where I’m disappointed. One of the KEYS to life, is allowing yourself to have days like that, allowing yourself to feel what you feel, to buffer it away, to not try to make it better for some TEMPORARY happiness.
Allow bad days to do their work in your life.
They will become the fuel that you use to create the life you want. Buffering away, hiding from, numbing, and running from negative emotion is one of the most toxic things we can do. We need to stop buying the lie, and maybe even some of the pills out there that they say will make you happy all the time.
We get so much further in our lives, when we accept the fact that there’s going to be about half negative and about half positive.
Life is going to be half beautiful and half brutal. It’s going to be so much wonderful and so much heartache, because we’re human
Your life is not that way because your doing anything wrong. We’ve just bought into a very sinister lie, and it sneaks in, and we don’t realize that we’re buying into it.
We choose what is easy
I want you to think about the life of Christ. His best day was also kind of his worst day. It was the day that he gave his life, that he sacrificed everything willingly, in order to bear the burdens of the world. That event gave, not only his life, but every life after it so much meaning.
We often choose a kind of worldly happiness and think everything should go well for us all the time. That’s just not what it is to be human.
If 2020, hasn’t taken away all your gumption and hasn’t beaten you within an inch of your life, there will be something coming that will. How we prop ourselves up against that, and how we infuse ourselves with the sort of courage and strength to get through that, is NOT to seek temporary happiness.
We need to choose true deep meaning, and that almost always comes from heartache, from trial, from suffering, from willingly taking on things that are hard, things that temporarily don’t make us happy, and willingly doing that for ourselves and for our family.
We must choose to willingly bear a heavy load for ourselves and for the people we love.
If you’ve read Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life, this is rule number seven. It’s my favorite rule.
Choose what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
Often our culture tells us, “You just need to be happy! Do whatever it takes to be happy!” That lie is not serving us well. When we do that, it leaves us empty, seeking relief wherever it can be found, wondering what our life is all about.
There is something better than happy!
If you resonated with any of that, you are going to love the class I’m teaching next week! On Wednesday, September 2nd, at Noon EST I will be doing a live webinar called:
THE HAPPINESS MYTH: Why Happiness is Overrated & The ONE Thing We REALLY NEED Instead!
I would love to have you join me! You can register here!
We’re going to defeat all these myths about happiness and talk about how to take the steps in your life that will bring true meaning and joy instead. I have been pouring my heart and soul into it and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Pat VonSick says
You are so right. In December I lost my husband of 43 years. Then the Pandemic. Needless to say I’ve worked thru a lot and learned thru the “stay at home” that it helped in many ways. Time to reset, restore myself after three years of his illness and it’s all taught me how much grief hurts but there’s still happiness, that people will always let you down, but Christ never will. I don’t have fear of this virus like so many. After many months, I’m peaceful. God’s perfect plan will take care of me and they only thing that really matters on earth is the love of family and friends. Thank you for the encouragement so many of us need.
Yep – so true! In February, my husband of 37 years and I split up. It had been a long time coming. The divorce was final in June. The ONLY way I’ve gotten through this is with Jesus. He has been right by my side through every step.
True happiness is only found through faith in Jesus Christ…He is the only one who can fill that hole inside you.
Wonderful message. I agree.