Why You Should Stop Pursuing Happiness
by Jenni Ritschard
The desire for happiness is embedded in the very roots of our culture: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” A Google search of the word happiness produces over 300,000,000 results. We have books entitled The Happiness Project and movies named The Pursuit of Happyness. One article on Google is even entitled, “Want to Be Happy? Stop Trying” still insinuating that happiness is the thing worth achieving in the end. “I just want to be happy,” “I’m not really that happy right now,” “Take care of yourself first, that’s the only way you can take care of others,” “I’m looking for what makes me happy”. If one of us hasn’t said one of these statements, at least one of our friends have. It is the ultimate pursuit, happiness. We look for jobs, money, careers, friends, churches, relationships, clothing…you name it…that will somehow fulfill this pressing urge to be happy.
But how happy should we really try to be?
I am convinced that an overwhelming desire and drive to be happy is incredibly detrimental. Men and women leave years-long marriages because the relationship is no longer potently “happy.” We pursue jobs that, instead of using our gifts, and hinting at a higher calling or vision from God, simply provide a paycheck that is ample enough to make us happy on the weekends. An overwhelming desire to be happy has also rendered us incapable of following through. As soon as a situation, habit, or relationship ceases to yield the golden happiness, we drop it, and move onto the next thing; our lives a wake of untied strings, unfinished projects, unsettled hearts.
We not only desire happiness as paramount, but we have taken it upon ourselves to make our boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, children, friends, brothers, and sisters happy, as well. What a strain this new responsibility puts upon us. After all, we quickly become failures when these other people in our lives cease to be happy.
What I am suggesting is that we forget about happiness altogether…
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