How many people in today’s world do you think have not had their peace disturbed by dissatisfaction, restlessness, desire, or resentment? It seems like the world has never experienced a time with so many unhappy individuals.
Who doesn’t want to be younger, more talented, richer, more respected, more famous, or more attractive? Who doesn’t think they deserve more, better, or hasn’t felt angry because they couldn’t achieve more? Why does a middle-aged urban man without a luxury car feel more injustice than a shepherd in a remote mountain village who only has his daily meal?
Certainly, most of us are aware of the absurdity of wanting everything at once, but now we find ourselves asking other questions: “Where did these great expectations come from?” “Do I have another option?” or “Why can’t I be happy?” Although the word happiness may sound clichéd, sarcastic, old-fashioned, or like a personal development cliché, secretly, we are all in pursuit of this elixir that we want to taste. While most of us say, “life is awful,” no one really wants to feel bad.
Although dictionaries define happiness as “reaching all desires complete and continuously,” finding or realizing a satisfying definition of this in practice is very difficult. In my opinion, when happiness is occasionally attainable, it becomes a permanent state and a serious obstacle to producing something good. Throughout history, the best works and inventions have not come from those who had a happy childhood. In short, happiness is not a state but a process and effort. John Stuart Mill, a 19th-century philosopher, explained it as follows:
Only those who don’t fixate their minds on their happiness are happy. They set other goals and find happiness on the way to those goals.John Stuart Mill
As modern people chase after happiness, they pursue strange phrases such as “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” “Happiness is within us,” or “Smile at strangers you don’t know” (Think about those who express themselves on the internet with images consisting of these mottos, or even those who wear T-shirt versions of them) and feel increasingly unhappy every day.
Just wanting something is not enough to make it happen. The complexity inherent in our human nature is also the meaninglessness of universal and general prescriptions offered to all of us. If you are aware of this, you take the first step towards happiness and gradually become happier. Because happiness, just like its opposite, depression, is a feeling that reinforces itself.
As long as we do not question the assumptions of unlimited personal freedom and unlimited choice clichés offered by our age, as long as we do not internalize the feeling of satisfaction, our unhappiness will persist, even continue to increase. Just like this article is not written to be happy, but happiness is derived from the fact that it is written and read.