Do You Really Understand The Pursuit Of Happiness?

Mindful appreciation of what it means to feel happiness.

Mindful appreciation of what it means to feel happiness.

I have a confession to make.  It's a pet peeve of mine to hear people say that all they want is just to be happy.

By all means I definitely don't think that the desire to be happy is a bad thing.  But what happens when something pops up in your life that makes you unhappy?  Do you feel like you've failed because you don't feel happy?  Do you feel like the "Universe" is against you, that people are out to get you, that happiness is not meant for you?  Do you really understand what it means to have happiness in your life?

But what happens when something pops up in your life that makes you unhappy?

I think the idea of being happy isn't fully understood.  

In my opinion having one state of being happens when you're six feet under.  And how are we possibly supposed to understand what happiness is exactly if we don't have any of the comparatives - sadness, anger, anxiousness, grief?  While there are extremes of the spectrum that require clinical support, like major depressive disorder for example, it's ok to feel a range of emotions, even if they're more negative in context.  Knowing what it feels like to feel is an essential part of the human condition.  It's almost become an epidemic in our society these days to strive for one emotion and dampen the rest.  It's become a problem to feel a negative emotion, almost as if we need to diagnose and medicate it.  Aside from what I've already mentioned with regards to serious and very real clinical mental health conditions, it's ok to feel sad on occasion.  It's ok to feel anger when something upsets you.  

I think our biggest problem is not having the skills to deal with our emotions as they come up.  Many of us are not properly taught how to deal with our negative emotions and are conditioned to believe that feeling these negative emotions is a pathology.  For example, grief after the death of a loved one is a very real thing and an important step in healing.  Numbing an emotion such as grief doesn't serve any positive long-term purpose.  Sure, when grief is unbearable and significantly impeding daily life we should be receiving the help we need.  But numbing for the sole purpose of feeling a natural and normal human emotion only limits one's own emotional development.

We can't have light without darkness, we can't have yin without yang.  

We need the full spectrum of colours of the rainbow in order for things to make sense.  We can't possibly understand what happiness is without truly feeling the reverse.  To be human is to feel emotions and make connections through these emotions.  To be a wise human is to feel emotions and make connections while instilling an aspect of non-attachment to our feelings.  Just as it doesn't serve us to avoid feeling sadness or anger, it also doesn't serve us to get caught up in those feelings. 

True emotional intelligence is feeling it all while having the ability to let it go.  As R.H. Sin beautifully said, "let it hurt, then let it go."  Easier said than done, I know.  But just like learning how to speak or read, we all have to start somewhere.  Know your weaknesses in your emotional literacy so you can learn where you need to improve.  Seek out the help you need now instead of when it becomes a major red flag in your life.  The sooner we can all understand emotional intelligence, the better life can be for ourselves and others.

Happiness comes from within, it's a mindset.  It cannot come without an understanding of emotional intelligence and a genuine appreciation for what it means to feel.  Do you truly understand what happiness is?