Monday, May 4, 2015

7 goals that steal happiness



Happiness is not a goal, it's a lifestyle. However, often we see happiness as a goal, something we can reach, a kind of package concocted with certainties. This way, we try to find it in different places; sometimes buying things, changing jobs or starting a new relationship. However, these are merely intermediaries of happiness and often keep themselves a too high percentage leaving only the crumbs for us. Therefore, despite our efforts, happiness becomes elusive and it flees our hands.

Actually, the problem is that the goals we have set, instead of getting us closer to happiness take us away from the state of satisfaction and peace that we are looking for. In fact, often we set goals that don’t lead to emotional balance but destabilize us, forcing us to embark on a career that fills us with stress and dissatisfaction.

What are the behaviors, goals and dreams that steal our happiness?


1. Trying to satisfy everyone. Once the actor Bill Cosby said: "I don’t know the secret of success, but I do know that the key to failure is trying to please everybody". We live in society, and as such, we must follow some rules and be able to adapt to certain contexts, but that doesn’t mean we should lose our identity and, above all, forget our dreams. At some point, you’ll find on your way people who don’t share your values, opinions or worldview. You must not change to meet them, because you face the risk of lose yourself, to forget your course.

2. Desiring a perfect life. The expectations we have determine widely our level of satisfaction with what we have achieved. If we think that to be happy we need a perfect life, we will probably never experience the real happiness. Perfection should not be a requirement for happiness, as it is rarely achieved. However, if you adapt your expectations to reality you can benefit much more from little moments and small details to find happiness in them, even if things aren’t perfect. It's not about conforming, but adopting a more realistic perspective to open yourself to the universe of possibilities in the “here and now”.

3. Pursuing wealth. Numerous studies have confirmed that money can’t buy happiness. Once our basic needs are met, wealth doesn’t make the difference between happiness and unhappiness. In fact, it’s been realized that the only mention of money makes us adopting a more tense attitude, therefore we enjoy less the things around us. Remember that wealth doesn’t guarantee happiness, but pursuing it at all costs sure guarantees unhappiness.

4. Building your own kingdom. The size of the universe is greatly reduced when you put yourself in the center. Living selfishly, trying to build a stronghold around you, it’s not the best way to find satisfaction and happiness. In fact, it has been shown that one of the keys to being happier consists precisely in opening to others, be generous and helpful. In the act of helping others, the joy of life and the purpose of life are rediscovered. Therefore, each time you help someone actually will be increasing your own share of happiness.

5. Fighting for success. We all need some recognition, through this we strengthen our self-esteem and improve our self-concept. However, everything has a limit, and seeking success by any means only leads us to pursue the goals that promotes society, which normally do not coincide with ours or make us happy. Achieving social recognition gives us satisfaction, but searching for it makes us unhappy.

6. Pursuing pleasure. Some people confuse pleasure with happiness, then make the mistake of assuming an hedonistic behavior. However, although pleasure generates pleasant feelings and makes us feel good, it’s not happiness, it doesn’t produce that state of being and tranquility we need to achieve a psychological balance. In fact, pleasure can become addictive, locking us in a vicious circle in which we will need more and more to feel good. Obviously, it doesn’t mean we have to deny pleasure, but consider it in perspective, without giving it too much value.

7. Searching for distraction. We don’t like boredom, we hate being bored. Then we tend to look for distractions. It’s perfectly understandable, because we need always new stimuli to grow as individuals and develop our skills. But everything has a limit. In this world fulfilled of information, these distractions can take us away from ourselves and from others. Searching for distractions is something positive, but it’s also essential finding space and time to enjoy the silence and be alone with ourselves. Distractions should help us grow, not prevent our development while hiding our fears and insecurities.

Remember that happiness is something we choose each day, it’s not a goal but a way.

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Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books

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