The Search for Happiness

Thong - El Cajon, California
Entered on February 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

What makes people happy? Do people run into it by accident, enjoy it while it lasts, and willingly let it go when its time is up? I believe that humans are cowards when faced with happiness, and it takes true bravery to hold on to it.

I used to think happiness came from the conventional things; friends, family, financial security, a successful career, and material goods. Being quite young when I came to this conclusion, I haven’t had the real-world experiences to shape them otherwise — they were all based on what I’ve been told by the media, teachers, and friends.

Now that I’m somewhat older and wiser, I’ve started to notice some of my observations transforming into truths. It initially started out within me. When events in my life occurred that brought me joy and bliss, I accepted them with the notation that they’ll end soon. When they did, I accepted that outcome, thinking that was the inevitable.

The opposite was true with despairing situations in my life. I never received them with open arms, but I clung onto them like a lifesaver in a sea of uncertainty. Instead of trying to the best of my ability, to solve the problem, I just wallowed in it, hoping the next day would be entirely different. Or the contrary, I would try my hardest to resolve the issue, but I would then dwell in the ones that were completely out of my control.

I’ve not only noticed complication within myself, but in my peers as well. This prompted me take a closer look at the situation and find out what was going on. First, I’ve observed that I did not go out my way to bring happiness to myself. I would work on things that were vehicles to my potential bliss; working for money, studying for a good career, practicing endless exercises on the guitar to play better make more friends, those sorts of things. But once I had achieved the results of those, I wasn’t any happier with myself than I was when I started. I paid more attention to all my hard work rather than my own rewards.

This was also true with the difficulties in my life. I would focus on them every hour of the day, ignoring any chance of joy that might enter my life. Dwelling on these problems would make me ignore any and all opportunities of bliss to enter my life.

After assessing this situation, I’ve discovered that I must try to the best of my ability to solve and conflicts in my life, and to let go things that were out of my control. This goes hand-in-hand with clasping the chances of any fleeting happiness. I no longer accept the compulsory thought that happiness is limited, and misery is infinite.