Sentimental Guy

I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness… – Dalai Lama

Happiness is all the rage right now. It’s in a lot of blog tags I read. Now we live in an unhappy world – bad news, natural destruction and devastation, human cruelty and suffering, sad, bad and mad faces. Happiness is a tall order; I see it as an obligation.

It’s a challenge to be happy. If someone says they are happy, part of me is instantly suspicious. I always think, “What are you hiding? Are you in denial? What did you have for breakfast? When will your world crash down?” I’m not perpetually unhappy, but just in a state of content coasting. I think that’s okay for me and I’ve reconciled myself to this. I don’t have to be happy. I’m okay to move about my world (mostly) accepting that things are of my own creation and that this is how I have set things up to be.  To be honest, I don’t know what would make me happier most of the time.

I read Gretchen Rubin’s book “The happiness project.” Actually, this is a lie. I took it out from the Library, got excited about it, meant to read it, and then it was overdue. I’ve signed up for her newsletter now. I’m glad she is doing this. It’s good she’s sharing this. I read the inspirational messages and they make me smile a little more. I guess that’s what happy is. A little bit more of a smile than before.

I measure a lot and forget that my own successes are happiness. We can be so relieved and excited that we have achieved our goal, and just as quickly compare it to someone else. We deflate ourselves in that instant. We need more of our helium than air to keep us afloat.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. – Dalai Lama

I think sometimes simplicity is happiness. I think sometimes human companionship is happiness.  Some people will make you happier than others, and that’s complicated in its own way. It’s like giving a person a gift: some people will accept a package as is, while others will be more skeptical. These people will want more information, questioning motives or the value of its worth.  I think we need to be happy, soul-o, and we grow more with others.

Happiness is also an effort of choice. Our results are based on how we affect our environment and how we manage those interactions, our self-reflection. If we are spending our energy being angry and shaking our fist at the sky, why not instead put that same effort into something else? Wouldn’t that motion towards happiness be easier on those around us?

Are we happiest at our most basic? How do human relationships make us happy? What makes you happy?


9 thoughts on “Sentimental Guy

  1. You say “… happiness is an obligation ..” and “.. I don’t have to be happy..” but I’m not clear whether you agree with the Dalai Lama that “… the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” ??

    I think the purpose of my life is to understand.
    I may or may not be happy about that.

    And it seems to me that the “basic” purpose of my life is to survive and pass on my genes. Not necessarily a source of happiness for me.

    I agree therefore that superimposing some other purpose, like “being happy” is a major shift and challenge.

    And I’m not sure that happiness is something I can create.
    Often my attempts to be happy are unsuccessful
    More often, for me happiness simply arises as a result of doing or being something unrelated to seeking happiness

    If there is a transcendent condition in my life, it is longing.
    That aching that arises of its own volition and is never – for me – satisfied.
    Mostly because I don’t know the goal or purpose of that longing
    Unless it is to understand
    Or to join – be in union with – which brings me back to the “basic”, hard-wired
    need to propagate?

    I do know that my happiness does not depend on “other” or “:others”
    Though I often act as though it does!


    • I do agree with what the Dalai Lama has to say; perhaps I am just not there yet. More of the time I feel I am obligated to be happy because everyone else is, or something I am doing will/should make me happy. That’s the obligation feeling on my part.

      It is difficult to say that we can create happiness because that leaves it feeling forced or expected. However, our circumstances and interactions can lead to unexpected happiness. A pleasant by-product! Perhaps if we are not so consciously trying we can leave more space to allow things to be. And still, that can be creating.

      I think that longing is seeking something within that has not been reconciled. Perhaps just feeling “longing” will allow you to see beyond a purpose, and just feel whatever you need to feel.

      Have a good day!

  2. My dad always says “I’m not happy–I don’t know what happiness is. I am content.” I always found that interesting. Maybe the dueling components of both are happiness tends to be paired with emotions and feelings and contentment with a state of being? Regardless, if we are always trying to search for emotions and feelings that leave us feeling “good” that seems like an addiction more than anything, wouldn’t you say? To me, happiness is being okay with good *and* bad. Maybe you won’t always have a smile on your face and maybe the birds won’t be singing to you every time you wake up but your soul is at rest…even in the moments when life happens and breaks your heart. Being able to hold the sadness and happiness in each hand and look at them and say “You are neither good nor bad. You just are.” And being okay with that.

    • Hi Cara,
      I like how you put this — being okay with whatever comes up. Perhaps *that* is happiness, even though we don’t have the ‘specific’ emotion attached to it. I agree that constantly seeking happiness (better and better feelings and emotions) can definitely be like an addiction. This creates an imbalance, and then I think we lose touch with what our ‘happiness’ is. Having our soul at rest is somewhere I’d like to be, no matter what I’m faced with.
      Thanks for your thoughts today.

      • I really liked this post a lot, so thank you for *your* thoughts! I just am realizing how fickle our emotions really are, not to mention how untrustworthy they can be. I’m with you though–I’d like to be in that place of rest myself. It’s hard because we have had so many years of being trained in a certain way that it’s difficult to flip the switch. It’s like a full-time job, trying to seek happiness, but I am finding that it comes from being aware. Aware of how I react to certain things, aware of those around me, and aware of the reality of life. Once I can see clearly, the emotions drop, the veil is removed and happiness enters. Or so the hope is, right? 🙂

  3. I think a lot of us spend most of our lives pursuing happiness, only to find that we had it all along. As I get older, I’m okay with being content, and learning to accept things as they are. We tell ourselves, “If _____ happens, then I’ll be happy,” or “If I have _____, then I’ll be happy.” But then when what we wanted happens or we get it, we’re happy for a day or a week or a month, and we start the search all over again, disappointed that we’re still not happy. As long as we keep searching for the magic potion of happiness outside of ourselves, we probably won’t find it. Sounds New Agey, but we humans do tend to complicate and over-think things.

    • I think as you get older you find life and emotions are easier to handle if we are not so conditional in our experiences. I definitely also agree that happiness is within. Fulfillment is a feeling, not a person.

      It’s not so New Agey to realize that we overthink things to the point of being idiots. If we could just pause a little more in our lives, maybe there wouldn’t be so much chaos.

      Thanks for your thoughts! I always look forward to what you have to say. 🙂

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