gallery Happiness … a trap?

started a post about something else … lost my train of thought there … so now i am sidestepping and moving to another train thats been on my mind for some time …. HAPPINESS ..

for some time now i have been told i am not happy – well actually for some years … my mother told me that people who smoke apparently arent happy … well i guess theres some truth there … but im not heading down that line …

and i think i wrote some stuff around this the other day πŸ˜› … anyway … i stopped in at the bookshop the other day – looking at self-help books for one ive been after for a while (dark night of the soul) but which i cant find and get the distinct feeling i wont until i have read ‘care of the soul’ first … anyway … id picked up ‘authentic happiness’ off my bookshelf the other day, opened it, flicked through and closed it … didnt find it useful or what i wanted.

however when i was in the bookshop i came across another book … ‘the happiness trap’ by dr russ harris md. well the title looked interesting, and so did the content. i started reading it today … and all i can say is THANKYOU :)… finally a book that makes sense, that puts life in real perspective and doesn’t offer the quick fix, for the somethings wrong with you mentality …

based on Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) the book looks closely at what happiness is … and is heartening and for want of a better way of saying what i cant think at the moment … it eases the mind and soul. For so long we have been told that the goal is happiness … we should be happy … youre not happy… you need to find happiness blah blah blah … but everything that is out there is temporary – definitely a quick fix … cos the reality is that we end up again and again in that ‘unhappiness’ state …

so what is happiness? i have been pondering this for a long time now … and like everyone else i am sure … i dont know exactly what it means or is … yes there are states of happiness and joy … but they are NOT everlasting … because we are human and we do live in a finite and human world … there is sadness, unhappiness, hurt and pain … they are the realities of life… and honestly i think we are deluding ourselves if we believe we must be happy in order to have a good life …

and we regard and determine happiness in degrees … gotta love humans… have to put things in categories, limit and bind ourselves … and thats the catch … we are human and we do think and operate this way .. so why on earth do we spend our whole lives beating ourselves up in pursuit of the utopia of happiness?

ok ive only read the first chapter or two of the book, but it makes sense and i intend to finish reading it soon … tho i will take my time to disseminate, and i have my pencil handy to mark the references that i find of particular interest or note …

its incredibly sad reading the statistics about mental health and wellbeing .. the rate of depression, suicide and mental illness is incredible in our ‘technologically advanced’ societies … personally i think depression is under-estimated … too many people suffer from some state of depression … including anxiety and stress … the pressure we put ourselves under… the expectations we place on ourselves and others … the judgement we feel from those around us … rejection… denial… pettiness… the list goes on… not to mention grief and loss over many things .. not just family, friends and loved ones …

someone once said … we create our own happiness and unhappiness… and in a sense i agree … we can fall victim to the happiness trap in assuming that we should be happy and that unless this or that we are not going to be happy .. hence we become unhappy in our pursuit of happiness… but to think that we create our own unhappiness? thats a rather hard pill to swallow … but in truth i agree that we do. we set ourselves up time and time again, with mental blaming, over-thinking, expectations of unrealistic natures … yeah and winning lotto is one of those … but we continue to spend a huge amount on that dream of … if only …..

Russ Harris talks about the evolution of human beings … i love reading the evolution of people – how we change and adapt – but how we are essentially created from the hunter / gatherer existence πŸ™‚ … he states “Thus, evolution has shaped our minds so that we are almost inevitably destined to suffer psychologically; to compare, evaluate and criticise ourselves, to focus on what we’re lacking; to be dissatisfied with what we have; and to imagine all sorts of frightening scenarios, most of which will never happen. No wonder humans find it hard to be happy!” …. and boy do i know what he is talking about – or rather who … ME … and every other human being on the planet ….

and we all think we are different, unique, one of a kind … well we are … but we are all cast in the same mould too … and we forget that frequently …

happiness is defined in two ways in his book … “Usually it refers to a feeling: a sense of pleasure, gladness or gratification” … and notes that “like all our other feelings, feelings of happiness don’t last” … well thats definitely true …

happiness is also defined as”‘a rich, full and meaningful life’ … ‘ a life well live”‘ …. he notes that “if we live a full life, we will feel the full range of human emotions” … including pain, hurt, heartache, fear, jealousy, anger … every so-called good and bad emotion… the whole range … remember – we are human – this is who we are … this is how we are also programmed to think and act and feel and react …

what i like however, is the following:

“When we take action on the things that truly matter deep in our hearts, when we move in directions that we consider valuable and worthy, when we clarify what we stand for in life and act accordingly, then our lives become rich and full and meaningful, and we experience a powerful sense of vitality. This is not some fleeting feeling – it is a profound sense of a life well lived.”

well if that isnt the definition of happiness … one that actually makes sense … that is achievable … understandable and within our very grasp …

so now i am happy πŸ™‚ … because this is what i understand … feel … and can relate to .. this is what makes sense to me … not the namby-pamby ‘oh you should be happy’ hype that everyone else seems to espound … this is real …

i wrote on my facebook page on wednesday …” Sometimes life gets you down … Sometimes life brings you joy … Always we have to take the good with the bad and keep moving forward .. :)” … think i just answered my own questions … thanks to ‘the happiness trap’ and dr russ harris πŸ™‚ … gonna go read some more πŸ™‚

more of my photoart πŸ™‚

i came across the following video today via facebook πŸ™‚

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