Tag Archives: happiness

If you are happy and you know it, just sit down

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Happiness.

What is happiness?

Happiness is a term that is now all-too-well-known by those trying to adult. Emphasis on (trying) and emphasis on the term is too-well-known, not necessarily the feeling. And to that point, when did happiness become the ever-elusive goal of life?

Today a friend said “…well, as long as you are happy”. I mean, bless her, I’m glad she wants good things for me, but happiness was never, nor could ever be a constant. It is not a way of life, it is a feeling, an emotion. With happiness comes sadness, anger, remorse, guilt, regret, annoyance, acceptance and a whole slew of feelings and angsty moments and elated adjectives. But, nobody says, “…well, as long as you are angry”, or “…at least you are annoyed”. These are not feelings that are celebrated, these are feelings that are pushed down, to be avoided, to be ignored, to be banished into the pit of feelings that should not be named.

But, here’s a secret folks, all of these feelings exist. They are all necessary, they are all needed and they are all unavoidable.

But, since when did happiness become what we lived for? What happened to family, friends, kids, pets, responsibility, fairness, justice….what happened to a good old reliable sense of obligation?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to stay in anything where you are (dare I say it), unhappy. Or to better expand on it, confused, lost, scared, indifferent, depressed or resentful. But, I am saying there are gonna be some not-so-good times. Some might be iffy, some might be only okay, some may be just alright and only at a certain hour, or only on a certain day. I don’t think the key to happiness is happiness, I think the key to happiness is being happy with being content.

So, as long as you are content, I’ll be happy.happy

The Ginga Ninja

 

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The Unfillable Void

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Void stampI’ve written posts here and there pointing out the occasional desire or maybe more appropriately put…emptiness we have filled with goals, aspirations, big dreams and pointless tasks. Somewhere along the way we are all taught there are certain benchmarks to hit in order to lead a “successful and fulfilling” life. Each and everytime we feel an uneasiness creeping up we try to tick off the next box on that list of fulfilling life moments and achievements, yet for some reason we are still left wanting.

I never understood this void. And better yet, I thought it was just me.

In our own little myopic worlds, we don’t seem to understand that everyone, and I mean everyone, suffers. But, to what extent and what emphasis is put on which wrong syllable is often measured by wealth, education and the basic hierarchy of needs. The saddest part of this is that no matter how much you achieve, how many things you attain and how much money you make…you may still have a little emptiness sitting in your stomach that you just can’t explain.

And this, my friends, is called the human condition.

For some reason our brains are hardwired to want to reach some sort of next step, next need, next want. If we don’t know what that is, sometimes we try to shake things up with a new degree, new career, new spouse, new car or even a new country. But, the bottom line is that no matter how many times we change it up, we can’t outrun it. The best version of ourselves is always just out of reach.

There are too many articles out there about happiness, anxiety, the meaning of life, self-help and self-worth for this epiphany to come to me and me alone. When are people happy?  Well, if we look at the study of psychology, this is all people have been talking about for centuries. The world’s greatest minds have been trying to decipher the meaning of life since the beginning of time, so what made any one of us think we were so special?

I finally understand, I’m not.Red_Void_by_Gaurdian

But, I also understand that this feeling most likely isn’t going away. When it creeps up after a big night of drinking, a breakup, looking at bank statements or being bored at your job…you need to accept it’s part of you, it’s part of life and there will always be more to have, to be, to want. All you can do is try your best to dull the ache, soften the voice, follow your dreams and realize that you are exactly the same as everyone else. The human condition is a condition indeed.

Mark Manson, a favourite of mine, explains it and explains it well. Stop trying to attain happiness and just try to learn acceptance. Pleasure is mistaken for happiness, and achievements mistaken for worth. Trust me when I say, it’s not always worth it. http://markmanson.net/stop-trying-to-be-happy#sxjbVV:6Q9y

The Ginga Ninja

 

 

If You’re Happy and You Know it, Lose Your Phone

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Did you know that the internet and cellphones, these wonderful, amazing, technological advances have actually added to people’s general unhappiness with what they have? We have all the information we ever wanted at our fingertips, a way to not lose somebody at the mall and a way to keep in touch with all the pen pals we ever met. Yet, often we feel empty…unfulfilled and unloved, why?

Well, the thing is…once upon a time, if you were out for dinner with your friends, you were only out for dinner with your friends. If you were unhappy with your job, your spouse knew it…if you were unhappy with your house, well, frankly, only your close friends, neighbours and family might know. Nobody cared what you ate for dinner, how many geraniums you planted, or how angry the old lady at the crosswalk made you. Nobody cared whether you threw a crappy birthday party, and lord knows, nobody wanted to sit through your boring vacation photos.

Photos were limited and carefully chosen. Ads were a novelty, correspondence a gift, houses were probably cleaner and more time was spent on passionate hobbies. When we broke up, we might have heard a rumour or two or bumped into them and their wonderful new girlfriend 5 years later, but we didn’t get the never-ending barrage of new haircuts, trips, weddings, birthday parties and flavours of the month like we do now. No, now we are all glued to our devices to one up another, see who is thinking about us, what’s going on, and to have 24/7 validation for the meaningless life we really lead.

Social media is a very dangerous tool. A tool that makes mothers feel bad about the birthday parties they didn’t throw, the cakes they didn’t bake, the vacations they can’t afford and the divorces they lived through. A tool that makes children feel less popular if they aren’t on it and pressured to do things when they are. A tool that makes single people sit through never-ending baby photos, stare into the eyes of happy couples and families and constantly be reminded of the ruins they didn’t visit or condo they can’t afford.

With so many more things than we ever had…and so much more access to friends, family and information than ever before…why have we created a society that is more discontent than ever?  Well, life is now just a big, public game of keeping up with the Joneses. Except the Joneses are now your elementary, highschool and university friends, co-workers, exes, some guy you met on vacation, some neighbour you haven’t seen in 10 years and some girl you talked to twice online. The pool of people to compare from is larger than it ever was and the access we have into people’s lives is overwhelming.

http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/facebook-can-make-you-unhappy-130814.htm

And I’ve had this very conversation with a loved one. A successful, but incredibly frustrated loved one.  Very seldom do people post photos of their children telling them they hate them, the moment they sign the divorce papers, the visit to the ER, the funeral of their father, or the day they were handed their pink slip. She made sure to tell me that behind many of these beautiful family pictures and smiling photos are bad marriages, financial woes and a general feeling of despair. But, would you show that publicly? Of course not, because that wouldn’t get you many “likes” now would it? And that would be too real.

No, we now live in a world of trying to convince everyone how great our life is, when in reality the people sitting on their front porches reading a book without an instagram account are most likely the happiest there are. They are living in the present, in their own life and don’t give a damn what anybody else is doing. They are the ones who despite being called dinosaurs are indifferent to Bobby’s barbecued ribs, Sonja’s newest marathon, Alex’s latest trip to Japan, or Tommy’s favourite beer. They don’t give a damn that they have less quote-on-quote “friends” and they don’t give a damn if their selfie was unliked or their slippers are uncool. No, on a Saturday, all they want to do is turn up the music, clean their house and remember what it was like to be a kid…and maybe, just maybe…pick up that cellphone…and call their mom.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

The Ginga Ninja

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