The Factors of Unhappiness (And a Possible Solution)
Updated: Sep 16
There may be those who claim that we are unable to find happiness from within. This statement is illogical, because we indeed have the potential to find happiness inside of us. I think a more reasonable question would be: “Why can’t we usually find happiness within ourselves”, because the assumption we find happiness not so frequently inside ourselves is more reasonable than implying it’s not possible at all.
Now, it is indeed reasonable that there are “special little moments” which carry the potential to make us feel happy. It is indeed reasonable to claim that special but few situations can make us truly happy. This is an issue I believe I am capable of solving, after the fallacy I mentioned.
Well, why can’t we really feel happiness all the time, or at least on a frequent basis, aside from excluded events? I can come up with a few assumptions.
* We take things for granted: Imagine how fortunate the average person is! They may have a house or apartment of their own, money for food, water, electricity and so forth, and perhaps also a loving partner. Many of us possess so much things other people, whether today or in the past, would suffer much in order to achieve them, if at all.
We are filled with fortune and benefits all the time, that we eventually start to get them taken for granted. Then, we ignore their important meanings and their positive affect on us, to the point we barely think about them. Whether we own a house, a car, have a partner or whatever else, we just don’t bother to consider anymore their importance, once we grow accustomed and acknowledge their eixstance. Thus, our daily lives, with all the good in it, becomes grey in the eyes of our perception, to the point only extreme changes can alter our constant feeling of an inner void.
Do not let familirarity breed contempt, or you will under-appreicate what you have in life. That includes your achievements.
* We are unsatisfied with what we have. Even the rich and socially or politically powerful can fall to this edge. Like in that Depeche Mode song, Everything Counts: “Everything counts in large amounts”. Even with what we have whether by genetics, cause or effort, we still may feel worthless in this era of financial materialism. I like to compare it to a platformer video game: you step on a nice and beautiful platform in a middle of a level, but the game - the metaphor for our social lives - is built in a way that you need to immediately step to the next platform in order for you to eventually complete the level and move unto the next level.
The “game” does not care if you like the scenery you are found in. You have a mission and you are in a state of survival until you finish this level, and even when this level is finished, another level begins, with the main satisfaction being the progress itself. A more “effective” “game”, in my opinion, would be a “game” that can teach you to enjoy what you already have, and eliminate the constant feeling that you are in a race against the clock or against other opponents.
Try looking around you and not just on your computer or smartphone screen. Consider more what you earned and achieved, instead of just focusing on more and more progress. Try to create this balance between appreciating what you have and earned, and between what are left to gain. Do not let one overshadow the other, or you'll be biased.
* We treat time like it’s something to be killed, not used. Even at the times where we are in leisure away from our commitments, we may become bored because there we learn, even in school, that we always need to do something no matter what. This perception on ourselves creates the assumption that free time needs to be “spent” if it was something like money and we are in a shopping mall.
We go into our TVs, computers, smartphones and so forth, just to waste time. The thing is, that we learn to view the action of time-wasting/killing as the meaning or an expression of fun. We can all burn our times through various activities (mostly electronic nowadays) and see how fast our free days have went from morning to evening.
I think this perception on time and fun is counterproductive because it can also make us feel worthless, meaningless or that we have “no lives”, as it is common to be said on the net (Or a "klumnik"). This notion of free time as something to be “killed” instead of being used, can make us feel like we do not do anything meaningful in our personal lives, thus making us feel unhappy and unsatisfied with ourselves. That's because "killing time" means that we have extra time we don't know what to do with, even though we can find some way to utilize it for our wellbeing.
Instead of wasting our time on entertainment, why wouldn’t we do things that give us meaning and a sense of purpose? This is why I decided to write so much, because it gives me a sense of purpose, and when I feel productive and efficient, I feel happy. You can thus take me as an example. Contributing to others is something that makes me happy, far more than killing time that can be used for just that.
* Our perception of routine works against our desire to feel good and content. I believe this is the factor that is most direct and relevant to this issue. Who said we always need to change our routine in order to feel happy? Is routine always a bad thing, or at least, always a threat to our general sense of satisfaction? Is routine always something to be seen as grey and lacking in color? Do we always need to have something extra, something different, in order to feel content? Why?
Because it is usually difficult to stay in the same monotony with all the temptations around? Even though this perception is common, I still do not understand how it can be beneficial in a world which is built on routine. Make your routine a healthy one and you might find out that you will be feeling happier than otherwise. No matter how much you'll diversify your days, you will still have to stick to a routine in order to be productive at what you're doing.
Thus, my conclusion is that our general lack of happiness, a common phenomenon in our era, is partially our fault. It's not that we have done something wrong or immoral, but our perception of life can be responsible for our general feeling and state of mind. The same goes for some of our activities in life, such as anything revolving killing time instead of doing useful things with it. We may also lack the mindfulness required to appreciate our achievements.
If we are to adjust our perception to the current reality in a way that can benefit ourselves, then why not do so? The mission for anyone who seeks happiness as a supreme goal is to figure out how they, as individual beings, can do so with their own current set of perceptions. Remember, perception is a choice. And believe it or not, perception can, at least partially, change our mental state.
It is not that the world is grey, but that we choose to view it as such, consciously or unconsciously. The effort of changing our perspective, even if it could be proven as difficult, is still an option worth considering.
And to do that, we must handle such matters from within. Practice introspection, and understand what within us deserves to be changed.