The Happiness Industry is making us miserable
The Happiness Industry is made up of all those books and articles and public speakers and organisations and motivational videos, AND yes, facebook pages, whose focus is about getting us to be happy.
Happy, positive, confident. All good stuff. And I do believe we should be these things. Of course.
It’s just the whole business is starting to irk me.
If I was a conspiracist I’d say the wealthy and powerful few who’re creating such devastation in the world right now, must be sitting back laughing themselves silly at the determined intention of so many to be happy, rather than protest at what’s been taken from them.
But I’m not a conspiracist. Excepting that there’s often some truth in a good conspiracy theory…
No, I just find the whole thing so selfish. So focused on SELF. It’s quite sickening. Millions of people in the Western world focused on being happy as a primary goal in their lives. And a great deal of the time, failing.
Which is to be expected. The world’s in a mess! It ain’t easy being happy these days.
No, happiness just can’t really be a goal in and of itself. It’s not an ‘end’. It’s not even especially the right thing for it to be considered a ‘means’, although it’s no doubt useful at times in aiding us to do more…
Happiness is correctly a by-product. We should most certainly all hope to be happy, but it’s like a few other of God’s particularly special Graces – like humility and wisdom – it doesn’t come to us via a direct route. We pick it up along the way, via the practise of other great Virtues. We can’t AIM to be wise – we can HOPE to be wise – we can even pray for wisdom, but we can’t seek it; unlike knowledge, which is directly available.
I think there are two routes to happiness, and two routes only, and really you best be taking both.
1. Be grateful for what you have. Truly grateful. Think about the wonderful things in your life – and there are many – and be thankful for them. Experience gratitude in your heart.
2. Be of service to others. Especially those less well-off than you. Seek to improve others’ lives in any way you can. Selflessly. Be kind.
If you can do this, in fact you’ll experience something much greater than happiness, you’ll experience JOY.
Okay, so don’t give up on all the self-help books, and the daily inspirational messages, and the counselling; of course all these things have value. But just understand that the true path to happiness doesn’t involve YOU as much as it involves “it’s not about me”.
Oh, and protesting about what’s been taken from ‘society’, protesting about greed, about a lack of concern by the few for the many? That’s a service to others. IMO.
Love and peace.