This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!
Happiness Isn’t Fun, Part 1
Happiness isn’t fun. Not during those times when we’re unhappy. Most people are generally happy, most of the time. But we do have our moments. We can’t always be happy, all the time.
But that’s no excuse. In our society, you MUST be happy ALL the time, or else people will think there’s something wrong with you. And they’ll badger the hell out of you until you paint a fake smile on your face, just to get rid of them.
This can leave you wondering if there really might be something wrong with you. And so even though you’re generally happy, you may seek ways to be happier. You may want happiness 24/7. Yes, you may want to be smiling, giggling, and chuckling, all day and all night long, just so you and everyone else will know that you’re not insane.
And yet, this is much easier said than done. Boosting your level of happiness can be hard work. Happiness is fickle, and depends on many variables, so you can’t just will it, and make it come true. In fact, you might rather try digging ditches, than work on improving your mood. Trying to be happier than you are, can be a dreadful chore.
People try many different techniques to improve their happiness. For instance, some search for their extra chuckles at the bottom of a beer bottle. Or at the sales aisle in a department store. Or in a church, as a bigshot volunteer. Yet extra happiness can be elusive, and they often come up empty-handed and frustrated.
They may even conclude that improving happiness is a myth.
Why, you’d think that all these frustrated happiness-seekers would give up searching. Especially the ones who think it’s a myth. But they don’t. They can’t. And neither can you.
You can’t give up on your search for more happiness. Ever. You’re not allowed. People won’t let you. They mandate you to be happy all the time. Want to know what I mean? Well, just go shopping. It seems that even if you spend an outrageous amount of money for low-quality goods, some asshole at the checkout stand is going to tell you to “Have a nice day!”
And if you’re feeling blue and want to be left alone, you’d better paint a smile on your face. Otherwise everyone will be asking what’s wrong and giving you advice for improving your spirits.
There’s an old saying that goes, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.”
Actually, when you laugh everyone treats you like you’re nuts, and they start avoiding you. Especially when you laugh incessantly while walking down a busy sidewalk, holding your ear, and staring at the ground. You’re given a wide berth.
But if you want to attract a crowd, just start crying. Then a bunch of well-meaning folks will surround you and ask what’s wrong. It could be anything. Maybe you just lost the lotto. Or perhaps you broke a shoelace. Tell them what’s wrong and then they’ll give you all kinds of helpful and unhelpful tips on how to “cure” your distraught state of mind. They might even slap you around a bit. No one can stand having an unhappy person in their midst. They’ve got to cure it and make you happy, even if it kills you.
Sometimes you have to really try hard to prove that you’re happy. That’s how you keep people off your case, so they don’t pester you like a swarm of gadflies. Like, if you want to keep your wife from interrogating you over suspected dissatisfaction with the marriage, you’d better smile as you stuff that warmed-up tamale pie casserole down your throat and listen to her gab away about whatever it is she’s talking about.
Or if you want to stay employed and move up the ladder, you’d better smile at your mean-spirited boss. No one wants to keep a disgruntled employee around. Especially mean-spirited bosses. They expect you to be happy all the time, no matter how lousy they treat you.
And it helps to learn the weather report every morning. That way you can spend the rest of the day updating bozos about the next cold front coming in. That gives you an opportunity to smile and appear happy and interested with life, so they’ll stay off your case.
Yeah happiness can be a real drag.
That is if you go about it the wrong way and wind up having to fake it.
But you don’t have to fake it. The only reason why you’d want to paint an artificial smile on your face is because you keep failing, time after time, to find genuine, extra happiness. It’s because such happiness seems to be nearly impossible, or maybe you’ve concluded that it’s an outright myth.
But that’s only because you’ve gone about your work in all the wrong ways. You’ve left town without a map. You’ve gotten a bum steer. You’ve bought a secret tip from a huckster in a raincoat. Or for some other reason you’ve headed the wrong way down a four-lane freeway.
But where there’s a wrong way there’s also a right way. And it’s simple. I’ll show you. I’m going to describe a worry-free way to turn around. U-turns are only stressful when there’s a cop watching. But right now they’re all on a donut break, so you can relax and spin that steering wheel. And even do a few donuts of your own, in the process.