Your Purpose in Life Isn’t to be Happy — but to be Human

emotions help us to live our best lives

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Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

Personally I have felt defeated in the pursuit of happiness.

I spent over ten years trying to find happiness invested in the self-help workshops, books, seminars, conferences and gurus.

Many of us talk about our happiness as a state of when — The I’ll be happy When statements.

The Case of the I’ll be Happy When’s are when we think that once we secure that next best thing, person or milestone we will then truly be happy.

The I’ll Be Happy When’s are…

  • When you buy your house
  • Find your soulmate
  • Have a baby
  • Get the job promotion
  • Finally fit in
  • Are seen for your hard work and efforts
  • Heal the past
  • Meditate for 20 minutes a day
  • Eat cleaner
  • Exercise more
  • Say affirmations all day long
  • Go on vacation
  • Manifest the life of your dreams on your vision board

The pursuit of happiness has us on a constant mission of action.

Do this + that = Find Happiness

Personally I thought that if I started thinking ONLY positive thoughts that then I’d be happy.

Or if I let go of all my toxic relationships then I’d be happy.

However, what happens when we start checking off the boxes on our happiness to-do list?

Does it lead us to greater happiness?

What is happiness?

The etymology of happiness shows us that before the 17th century happiness was viewed as a matter of luck, virtue or chance.

It wasn’t seen as a state of being but rather something that happened to you by the fate of the universe.

Classical philosophers might say that happiness wasn’t only experiencing positive feelings but rather how well you lived your life even through pain.

Aristotle defined happiness as eudaimonia or the cultivation of happiness through continued personal challenge and growth.

It is not about what you should do to be happy but rather a by-product of how well you live your life according to your virtues.

When we live a life that represents our core values and virtues we live in integrity with ourselves.

Regardless of what happens to us we can rest at peace knowing that we followed our moral compass.

Emotions are our friends.

Something I have noticed in the happiness movement is there is an obsession with only feeling good.

We must focus solely on the positive, not the negative.

Ignore our yucky emotions like anger, sadness, rage.

Say affirmative statements.

Grieve quickly and move forward.

The past is in the past.

I remember the first time I went to therapy I told my therapist that I just wanted to focus on building a happy life and not think about the past.

“It’s not about building a happy one but a real one”, — she replied.

I was so focused on avoiding all of my emotions besides the positive feel-good ones that I wasn’t getting real with myself or anyone else.

It isn’t encouraged for us to be okay with all of our emotions.

We are influenced by the self-help industry to constantly work on ourselves to find happiness.

The U.S. self-improvement market was worth $9.9 billion in 2016 and is forecasted to by worth $13.2 billion by 2022.

In Dr. Susan David’s Ted Talk she conducted a survey with over 70,000 people and found that a third of us judge ourselves for “bad emotions” or try to push them away.

“Research has shown that radical acceptance of all of our emotions — even the messy, difficult ones — is the cornerstone to resilience, thriving, and true, authentic happiness.” — Dr. Susan David

When we ignore and push away the unpleasant emotions we isolate ourselves from having real relationships with people, the world and ultimately ourselves.

We see the world for what we want it to be like rather than what the writing on the wall shows us.

Emotions are there to simply be a guide, to remind us that we are alive.

Your purpose in life is to be who you are — human in all your flaws, shortcomings, failures and successes.

I don’t want to focus solely on the positive in my life anymore.

I get real as real as possible.

I share my highlights, my struggles, my wins and my losses.

I want to live a life that is of integrity and of service to humanity through that.

Happiness comes from a living your best life in alignment with who you are at the nature of your being.

Live from there. It is your wellspring.

Written by

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here: www.emilystroia.com

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