Is trying too hard to be happy making you sad?

Have you ever thought about what really makes you happy? What is it that gives you satisfaction and contentment? These questions are certainly some food for thought.

Humans are social animals. We co-exist in societies and groups, governed by a certain set of norms and rules. All of us wish to be a part of society; it is a basic human tendency hard-wired into our brains. We continuously seek validation from others in society, be it our friends, peers or parents. As a result, we feel that if we don’t get this “validation”, our life is fruitless. In fact, we try so hard to fit into the society that we put our own satisfaction and goals on the backburner. This is the reason why we are unable to get genuine contentment in anything we do. We continually strive to achieve an impossibly high standard of “success” defined by society, in pursuit of “happiness”, and this pursuit, in fact, makes our lives miserable. The higher we set this standard of happiness, the more disappointed we become when we cannot reach it.

What we project to society is a veneer over our true emotions. We try too hard to be happy, but what really happens under the surface is that we are merely convincing ourselves that we are happy. We tend to bottle up our emotions, and this inner conflict is yet another reason why we are unable to find true happiness. In order to be truly happy, one should stop pretending to be what one is not; one should drop the facade and just be oneself. Just be yourself: that is the key to attaining satisfaction in life.

Our standards of “happiness” are set too high, and so we neglect the smaller things in life which make us profoundly satisfied and contented. In the rat race which is the modern world, we must take a moment to stop, breathe and smell the roses. Just take a moment to appreciate all the wonderful experiences in your life, and reassure yourself that several more are yet to come. Happiness is the journey, and not the destination. It is the smallest things in life that make us happy; be it taking a leisurely stroll on the beach, or enjoying a movie with a loved one. True satisfaction and contentment are not connected to any material object or money; satisfaction is found in experiences and journeys of our lives.

Be present at the moment. Worrying about the future which is yet to unfold will just ruin the current moment. Happiness is now; Happiness is ease. If you are trying too hard to be happy, you’ve just got it wrong.