Happiness Cannot be Obtained

Happiness Cannot be Obtained

Happiness Cannot be Obtained

People often get asked a variation of the question “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” Answers to this question vary from “I want to be married with three kids,” to “I want to be promoted to Vice President of my company,” to “I want a job that pays well and that has flexible hours.” More and more, we also hear people answering this question with “I want to be happy.” This last answer is reflective of the notion that happiness is something that we can work towards or achieve. For those of you who are trying to obtain happiness, we hate to break it to you, but you can’t.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_mask-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedHappiness is not something that can be obtained. Rather, it is an internal state of being that you either have or you don’t. Arguably, we are all born with happiness inside of us, but often our life circumstances and our achievement-oriented culture make us lose sight of it. We might be tricked into thinking that we are not happy and believe that we need something external, either tangible or intangible, to make us happy. Companies across all industries make billions of dollars by feeding people’s feelings of insufficiency and convincing them that their service or product will bring them happiness. This, in turn, causes people to confuse happiness with other emotions.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_outofreach-300x204 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedFor example, happiness is often confused with excitement. How many times have you heard people say things like, “I’ll be happy when I find my soulmate,” “I’ll be happy when I buy a house,” and “I’ll be happy when I finally get that promotion”? Then what happens when they get these things? They’ll probably be excited for a few days—a few months at the most. But this high does not last. Once it wears off, these same people who found their soulmate, bought their house, and got their well-deserved promotion might feel that they need something else in order to “be happy”—perhaps a family, a bigger house, or a greater promotion. Equating happiness with the temporary excitement of attaining something external will always leave us feeling dissatisfied and is thus not sustainable. Life is a series of highs and lows. We can’t expect to experience highs all the time, but our internal sense of happiness helps us get through life’s highs and lows.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_content-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedHappiness is also not the same as contentment. Just because external achievements don’t bring about happiness doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t set goals and work towards them. In fact, we must. Happiness does not mean being okay with the way things are. We should all do our part to make things better for ourselves and for the world around us. This will look different for different people, but we should all be working towards something. Having goals and working towards them helps shape our life purpose and gives us a reason to wake up in the morning, which is certainly related to happiness, though is not the same thing. Sometimes circumstances beyond our control might inhibit or delay our reaching our goals. If for some reason you aren’t where you hoped you would be, simply ask yourself, “Is there anything more I could have done today?” If the answer is yes, then you can always make up for it by working harder tomorrow. If the answer is no, then there’s no use in worrying—things have a way of working out, and they will. We all inevitably will face obstacles in achieving our goals, but this doesn’t equate to unhappiness.

Happiness also doesn’t mean smiling and being bubbly all the time. Some days will be neutral and uneventful, but that also doesn’t equate to unhappiness. Perhaps, then, happiness isn’t the perpetual presence of smiles and laughter and constant positivity, but rather the absence of feelings of agony, worry, and resentment. In other words, if you aren’t unhappy, then by definition, you’re happy. Happiness is simply being. It is knowing that through all the highs and lows of life, you are still living, you will get through, and you will be okay.

So no, you cannot obtain happiness. But you can ignite the happiness that already exists within you by trying any or all of the following.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_lifespleasures-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedAppreciate life’s simple pleasures. When we are so focused on working towards our goals, it is all too easy to fall into a routine and to forget to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Whether it’s the delicious and fulfilling breakfast you had this morning, the flowers blooming as we transition into spring, or your significant other saying “I love you,” there’s always at least one small thing to be appreciated each day.

Exercise. One of the best remedies for depression, anxiety, and general sadness is getting your body moving. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, you’ll probably be glad you did. Exercising for as little as 10 minutes a day releases “feel-good” neurotransmitters in the brain, which can do wonders for your mood.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_giving-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedDo something nice for someone else. Humans are social beings. Doing something nice for others, whether it be making them a thank you card, taking them for lunch, or offering to help them with an assignment, releases those same “feel-good” neurotransmitters, leaving us with feelings of warmth and satisfaction. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Surround yourself with other happy people. Other people’s energy is contagious. You may have noticed that when you’re around someone who’s constantly complaining or unsatisfied, you feel drained. On the other hand, when you spend time with people who are happy and who radiate positive energy, that energy inevitably rubs off on you and you can’t help but feel good.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_positivity-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedStay positive. There’s no escaping negative life events, but no matter how bad things get, there’s always something positive to focus on, and there’s always a solution to be found. Being positive doesn’t mean suppressing or ignoring your negative feelings. Feel what you need to feel, but give your negative emotions a time limit. After that point, focus on turning that negativity into positivity and productivity.

Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases your stress hormone levels and leaves you feeling irritable, unproductive, and just plain miserable. On the other hand, getting enough sleep recharges your brain, improving your mood, focus, and self-control. Sleep is your brain’s chance to rid itself of toxic proteins that accumulate during the day from normal neural activity.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_conversation-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedHave deep conversations. Remember those “feel-good” neurotransmitters? They get triggered when you have a meaningful conversation with someone else. Deep conversations not only help you learn more about different topics, but help you build emotional connections with others.

Have a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset means being confident in your ability to improve. This involves embracing challenges as learning opportunities.

Blog55_HappinessCannotBeObtained_behappy-300x200 Happiness Cannot be ObtainedMake it a point to be happy. Be mindful. Evaluate how you’re feeling. If something feels off, fix it. It’s in your control. Tell yourself “I am happy.” Your words have the power to manifest themselves into reality.

If you’d like some support with any of the items on this list, need some help navigating your life’s path, or you have other ideas to share, then you’ll want to join Konversai. Konversai is an innovative knowledge-sharing platform that allows for one-on-one live video conversations between anyone anywhere about anything. Konversai’s mission is to democratize knowledge, put the human connection back into the heart of technology, and to make the world better by facilitating meaningful connections and conversations. Any and all knowledge, experiences, and skills have value on Konversai as there is sure to be someone somewhere else in the world whose life can improve from what you have to share. For this reason, those are sharing their knowledge on the platform are encouraged to charge for their time. If you don’t need the money, you can choose to hold sessions for free or donate your earnings to a charity of your choice. Users are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish. Whether you are on Konversai as a knowledge provider or a knowledge seeker, you will leave the conversation feeling better than when you came into it. By joining Konversai, you are taking the first step toward improving your own life and the lives of others. Get started today.

Written by: Pavita Singh


Bradberry, Travis. (2017). Ten Habits of Incredibly Happy People. Forbes.





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