On the Tyranny of Happiness…
Happiness is a seductive tyrant.
We are the only country in the world that has “happiness” built into our national founding documents.
Most of humanity, and most of history, is little more a struggle to survive. To create a modicum of health and security. To create a stable rule of law.
But in our slap-happy country, we are told we have the right to pursue happiness!
Which is a wonderful thing of course.
The danger is when we feel as if we DESERVE it.
That it’s OWED to us.
That happiness is our BIRTHRIGHT.
I had lunch yesterday with the delightful and whip-smart psychologist and author Lori Gottlieb and she – like many today – is writing about how the expectation of happiness often DESTROYS our happiness.
Happiness, as so much research is showing, is not a cause but the RESULT of pursuing meaningful work and relationships. It’s a side-effect.
“Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and as worthy of happiness.”
(p. 27). (italics mine)
Did you hear that difference?
Developing a healthy self-esteem allows us to naturally see ourselves as worthy of happiness.
It clears the way for us to take action.
And it’s the actions that bring us happiness.
Actions like creating pleasant and beautiful experiences and environments for ourselves.
Like moving and experiencing our bodies.
Like creating beautiful, meaningful connections with others.
And of course – like committing to the practices that allow love to blossom and deepen.
You don’t have to be happy all the time.
As my father said, “the world doesn’t owe you anything.”
You don’t have to be happy – especially because your friends post photos on Facebook from Tahiti all the time.
Self-Esteem comes from within.
And happiness comes from self-esteem.
It’s important to get to the root of the matter – and “re-imagine” yourself as worthy.
That’s why we are reading this book together in Mindgasm.
To shore up our foundations.
All on the route toward greater happiness and love.
* if you want to join us in the Mindgasm Wisdom Circle Reading group, go here