Ah, the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t that an inherent right of all Americans? Yet the majority of Americans seem to be searching for happiness in all the wrong places… striving for that next promotion at work, purchasing a larger home, buying a nicer car, thinking that marriage will provide lasting happiness, or planning the perfect vacation. We seem to have it all backwards. Here are just a few of the myths of happiness:
- Myth: Happiness is a destination. Truth: Happiness is a process.
- Myth: Success at work creates happiness. Truth: Happiness leads to success.
- Myth: Material goods provide happiness. Truth: Charitable acts bring happiness.
- Myth: Marriage creates happiness. Truth: Single people are just as happy as married people, and may even be happier.
- Myth: Pleasurable experiences create happiness. Truth: Helping others creates happiness.
- Myth: Happiness will be obtained when a goal is reached. Truth: Goal attainment provides momentary happiness. True happiness is attained in the present.
- Myth: Happiness is genetic. Truth: Happiness can be taught.
Don’t believe me? These articles should convince you…
- Debunking the Myths of Happiness (Jason Marsh, Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life)
- Happiness: 6 Myths and Truths (Annie Stuart, WebMD)
- 7 Myths about Happiness (Sonja Lyubomirsky, Psychology Today)
Photo taken January 4th, 2014
UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
I love this Linda especially number 1. I find in life that I go in and out if happiness. Overall I’m a very happy person yet like everyone there have been times when things have been hard. Hardest part being being in the wrong career for so long. I strongly feel that happiness is a process and journey. As I grow older and wiser I seem to know much more what makes and keeps me happy. Most of all the gracefulness I have for this life and my loved ones. Great post!
Thanks, Nicole. Yes, we will all go through periods where we’re happier and periods where we’re less happy. We will all face challenges that will take us down for a while, sometimes deeply. I, too, was in the wrong career for many years and I didn’t realize the toll it was taking on my health and happiness, and I have suffered the loss of a close loved one (a brother). I agree that as we grow older and wiser, we can learn from these paths we’ve taken in our pasts, and hopefully make better decisions in the future that will nourish our happiness instead of sucking it out of us. Then, hopefully, we will have greater reserves of strength to better handle the true dark periods in our lives.
Beautiful Linda. Love your words of wisdom. It has warmed up here to the 40s and I’ve been enjoying being outdoors again. Feeling much much happier. 🙂 Yes, life is a journey isn’t it. I’m really glad I’ve found yoga to help me through the darker periods. It has helped significantly. 🙂
All true, and yet so many people miss the obvious.
I think people just get caught up in doing what everyone else is doing without stopping to think about the consequences. I’d rather be happy than concerned about what others will think of me.
I like the bright happy flower 🙂
Thanks! It increases my happiness every time I look at it. 🙂
Lovely! An interesting read and certainly food for thought, Linda…. And to me, the flower is a picture of ‘happiness’: bright, cheery, friendly, simple, like a smile… Thanks.
Thank you, Coral! I’ve read several books on the topic of happiness. It’s a fascinating subject.