“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” -Albert Einstein
The guy who wrote that knew a thing or two about this life and how it works, wouldn’t you say? Although I know nothing about his personal life or how successful he was at living, I know that life gave him a few secrets. And for life to give you secrets that change the perception of the world as we know it, you have to reach a certain level of being and understanding to be entrusted with it.
Here’s the thing…we all want to be happy. Even if you’re in a down place right now and mad at life, you still find a bit of happiness in your being depressed. Nobody wants to hear that, and if you’re smack in the middle of it right now – you’ll never agree with that statement because your subconscious won’t allow it. But the truth is – if you didn’t enjoy it a little, you would have found the quickest route the hell out of there.
Side note: if you are in a funk and truly want to change, read this post about how to get out of it
We chase happiness because it feels awesome. Those endorphins start flowing and we feel on top of the world!
So what’s wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing is wrong with endorphins flowing and feeling happy. However, it starts to become unhealthy when we tie our level of happiness to things and people.
Here’s what I mean.
We go out and buy a new pair of shoes. We feel badass in those new shoes right? We’ve got style, we’re feeling sexy, we’re awesome.
Then the shoes get worn down a bit and we’re not feeling so sexy anymore. We want to feel sexy again. What do we do? Well, our logical mind thinks, “last time we felt sexy was when we bought that new pair of shoes, so ummm we should buy another new pair of shoes! YEAH!” Then we go buy another new pair of shoes, and the cycle continues.
That’s a super small example, and I started off small on purpose. What happens, though, when we tie our happiness to bigger things, like people?
Other than those emotion ninjas who nothing anyone does ever seems to affect them, most of us can be swayed by other people’s emotions. You’re going along happy as can be, then your significant other comes home in a bad mood and the negative vibes permeate the room. At first you try to console them and help in any way you can, but your good mood only fuels their bad-mood-fire. Soon enough their bad mood has infected your good mood and you’re sucked into bad mood land.
Has this ever happened to you?
Okay, well we’re not numb human beings, of course other people’s moods can affect our moods.
True. But it goes much deeper than that.
He’s not paying attention to me, he must not love me anymore, I’m sad. She’s not interested in having sex with me, she must not find me attractive anymore, I’m bummed. We haven’t gone on a date night in a long time, the romance must be slipping, this sucks.
He brought me flowers for no reason? I’m super happy and everything is good with the world! She understands I need time after work to veg out…and she actually gives that to me? Keeper!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not okay to feel happy and sad, it’s completely natural. What I’m saying is that when we tie those feelings to other people and things, it might be something to be conscious of.
I haven’t brought up drugs because we’re all in agreement that tying happiness to drugs and alcohol is insane, right?
Uh oh, where’s he going with this?
Yes, tying happiness to getting high or drunk is crazy, because we all know it’s a forced release of endorphins, which isn’t fair.
What about when you tie your happiness to how he treats you? Your level of happiness goes up and down depending on his mood, which has nothing to do with you.
What about tying your level of happiness to her mood during that special time of the month?
Oh no he didn’t go there!
I did. Why? Because it’s a real thing. It’s hormonal. I’m not saying it’s wrong at all, it’s totally natural. But thinking that it doesn’t affect other people is crazy talk. It does.
What I’m saying is that people can be supportive when others are in pain, but tying their level of happiness to that person’s mood might not be all that healthy.
If we could just learn to detach (or never connect in the first place) from people and things, we would be able to live our days according to how we feel, rather than how others feel.
Just some food for thought. Let me know what you think. Good or bad, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Piehler