Stop Seeking Happiness

Calista Alma
April 12, 2024

Do you believe me when I say that the more you search for happiness, the more discontent you’ll feel?

In the United States Declaration of Independence, it’s stated: “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We’re always striving to find external materials to create “happiness” in our lives.

The United States is the world’s leading superpower, with GDP per capita consistently ranking in the top 10… countless factors that other nations would look at and assume their citizens must be extremely happy.

But the reality is that the level of happiness of Americans still lags far behind top-ranking countries like Denmark.

Why aren’t they as happy as we predict?

Or more broadly, why do those who are on the pursuit of happiness not feel happy?

The answer is incredibly simple:

When we “pursue” something, it means we don’t have it in the present moment.

When you have a pursuit in mind, subconsciously you’ll pin down the notion that you’re lacking it and need to go find it.

For example, when you pursue wealth, money, it means there’s currently a lack of money, an inadequate amount to satisfy and make you happy.

Or when you seek love, someone to hold and comfort you, then subconsciously, you understand that you’re lonely and lacking emotional fulfillment. You crave affection from someone else rather than from yourself.

From there, you’ll gradually fall into a state of misery as you relentlessly yearn for fulfillment from external sources, from others, and from some future scenario.

But ironically, people aren’t smart enough to answer where, from whom, and how to find those things.

That vagueness leads people to a state of confusion and lack of direction, worse yet, making them more foolish. The longer this state persists, the less happy they become.

The very boundary between “sufficient satisfaction” and “what’s currently there” makes you feel bored and disappointed; the further away that boundary is, the more pain you’ll feel.

But how much is enough, really, it’s genuinely difficult to answer.
And even if by chance you find someone or some opportunity that meets your needs, can you maintain that happiness in the long run?
I believe not; the nature of humans is greedy, they will always desire something better than what they have now, so the essence of “pursuit” itself also refuses to stay still.

It will keep pushing you continuously and forcing you to seek, thereby leading you into an endless cycle of mental agony. It doesn’t give you the time to be still, to enjoy this moment.

You can’t find true happiness from outside because it’s already within you.

This might startle you, but the destination was always right where you started, or perhaps the truth is there’s no path here at all, the reward has always been available to you, within your own being.

There’s no race for you to run, to reach the finish line and embrace the prize you’ve always longed for, but that distant desire is just your illusion.

Only those who no longer seek distant happiness but find contentment within themselves will know when they’ve had enough and find tranquility. They will delight in themselves, in what’s already there.

They’re not caught up in the whirlwind of life, trying to compete, amass for themselves, they don’t chase after society’s trends and definitions of things like “happiness,” “wealth,”…

Because they’re at peace with this very life and have the wisdom to recognize what true happiness is.

It’s happiness within, here and right now.

Therefore, the right to pursue happiness ultimately makes us more unhappy. Strive to overcome the demands of the ego within you, be grateful for what you have, and cherish this moment more.
When that happens, you’ll surely be happy.

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