5 Myths Of Happiness- And Why They’re Harmful

It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you’re doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s what you think about it.

Dale Carnegie

Whether you’re happy, content, thriving and loving life, or miserable, unsatisfied and hating everything that life entails, I think it’s fair for me to say that we all have a rough idea of what certain things we think would bring us to a better place emotionally. Now even if this is true, however, it is extremely important that we acknowledge and tackle a number of myths that could be leading people to seek happiness in the wrong ways. After all, prior to reading and understanding considerable information on this subject, I was guilty of believing these stereotypes myself.

Happiness means you cannot feel sad, bad or pissed off.

In much the same way that suffering depression doesn’t mean you can’t experience happy, positive emotions, being a happy person doesn’t make you exempt from difficult, challenging times. No matter your situation and where you lay on the ‘happy-sad scale’, you will experience some great highs and probably very low lows. That’s part and parcel of life. The only thing we can do is learn how to cope and be resilient in the face of adversity, all while not becoming too overjoyed or complacent when something good happens. And if you’re in the extremely fortunate position to be in a great place, it’s important to remind yourself that a bad day doesn’t make a bad life. It’s perfectly natural to feel a bit shit sometimes!

Getting that house, that money, that car will be your route to true happiness.

No matter how much the media or people online try to ram down our throats luxury living and the idea that material objects will solve all bad, I promise you it’s simply not true. It’s all an illusion. Just look at the evidence. If happiness was defined by financial wealth, status, fame, assets or the amount of cars on the driveway, why are the Elon Musks, Jeff Bezos’ and Bill Gates of this world not the jolliest, most content people on the planet? Or conversely, why are the poorest, most disadvantaged people not always the most unhappy? I’ll tell you why. Because achieving a state of happiness depends on way more than the cash in your bank account or that massive house you may be living in. Without the ability to love yourself, the activities you partake in and the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis, it’s nigh on impossible to feel happy. Now it’s all well and good for me to say this on here, therefore we need to be teaching kids this as well! Early intervention, I believe…

A change of scenery means automatic change of fortune.

While it is undeniably true that altering your surroundings and travelling to places you’ve never previously explored can free up the mind and broaden your horizons, the reality is that the effects of such scenery changes are short-lived. It’s not a sustainable solution. If you’re hoping that ‘escaping’ from your usual surroundings is the ‘magic bullet’ you’ve been waiting for, you’d be rudely mistaken. Without taking the necessary steps and discipline (this is the extremely key word) to address recurring toxic, debilitating thoughts and build consistent positive habits, you’re likely to be left feeling lost, unfulfilled and seeking happiness in your external environment. Trust me I know. Every self-help guru on the planet says it, but it’s true. Happiness is built from within.

Success equals happiness

Though hitting goals and key targets can allow us to feel content and proud of what we’ve achieved, focussing all of your energy on the idea that securing a particular job or graduating university will make you happy only provides short-term satisfaction. Satisfaction that will probably dissipate in the event that you face an obstacle that means you cannot experience another big moment of success. Many things in life are purely out of the reams of our control, therefore it’s incredibly important that we savour the processes that happen every single day. Rather than just the occasions that give us those monumental highs!

You have to be self-sufficient all the time

Don’t get it twisted. Relying on yourself and becoming your own comfort blanket in times of adversity is vitally important- particularly because those around us will not always be around to help. Or even willing to. That being said, it’s virtually impossible to wholly independent 24-7. And it’s also counterproductive as we can’t benefit from the advice of others. With humans being social creatures, we thrive on the relationships and memories we share with those closest to us. In fact, many research studies have suggested that good social relationships are the strongest, most consistent predictors of a happy life. So the next time you’re considering braving a situation alone because you think you need to handle it on your own, remember that it’s okay to put a significant portion of your time towards building friendships and a better social life. Striking a great balance between self-sufficiency and utilising social relationships will give you a great start on the path to happiness.

Thanks for reading,

Adam

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