A brief intro:
Life brings with it a wave of emotions, but no emotion is sold quite like happiness, with one of our most dreaded emotions being the driving force behind this: fear. Avoid that which makes you fearful, and chase that which brings you happiness. Our relationship with both stink to the point we create less happiness and generate more fear — which is the last thing we want.
Before you get too caught up in the title and brand me a masochist, first hear me out. Because ironically my dear stranger, right now, your happiness is at the forefront of my mind.
In my little fairytale, we’d all be happy. Every race, gender, religion, socio-economic class; you name it — we’d all be happy little fuckers integrating amongst one another with zero concern as to how others choose to live their life because bitterness or anger simply wouldn’t exist. And seeing as it’s my fairytale — you’re speaking with the King!
Unfortunately, La La land doesn’t exist and as a dark cloud settles over mine, reality bites hard unveiling a world where people appear to be more pissed off, lonely, and sadder than ever while desperately pursuing happiness with little avail. Yay for social media, modern-day politics, and the right-hand column of The Daily Mail!
“Happiness” is an outrageous business leveraged from an environment in which negative emotions are conditioned to thrive — too fat, too thin, do more of this, be better at that — you know the drill. Dickheads. Everywhere. All of us! The good news is that if you relinquish the control you desire but will never have — that which you have no control over — you will very quickly arrive at a place which at first might scare the batshit out of you, but once digested should leave you feeling liberated. That is, the only person’s happiness you have sole responsibility for is your own. So breathe a sigh of relief, all you have to do is accept 100% responsibility for your life, and you can forever change the outcome for the better.
Sole responsibility for your own happiness does not mean you can’t contribute to someone else’s happiness which so often is a source of contentment and satisfaction in itself.
The problem with happiness is not that everybody’s seeking it. The problem arises because it sits obnoxiously right in front of our eyes to the point where it becomes suffocating. Think how pissed, and rightfully so, a vegan would be if you were to slap a Kentucky fried chicken breast across their face!?
THE RESULT OF THIS?
Exceedingly high expectations of who we should be in this world as around every corner we have someone preying on an insecurity while promising to deliver happiness through a product designed to eradicate whatever insecurity is currently en vogue. And let’s not forget the precious time wasted stalking others on Facebook as they promote their envious lives while highlighting all we think we desire. None of which is real, as the shitty side gets neglected, perpetuating a feeling of inadequacy and ensuring it lingers long after like a bad fart. But, to be fair, the only way that shit can manifest is by putting it out there in “The Universe!” Hope and faith are great. Really. But if you want to change — hope and faith are not enough. What so often gets lost in translation is that nothing gets accomplished without the right attitude and a whole lot of action. For something shoved down our throats, obsessing over happiness just pushes it further away. Instead, try obsessing over that which you can control now to create a better life in the future — the steps in the process without fixating on the destination.
Seek, and I shall find — where seek often means spraying insignificant fucks far and wide in the hope that one of them hits the bullseye. Our desire for instant gratification ensures the prophecy lives on, as the torch gets passed down the line spraying fucks all over the shop with little to no time given to nourishing that which contributes to a healthier, happier, more prosperous life.
Let us not forget those photos which are only activated when one is in paradise with the sole purpose of inducing jealousy. Most of us are guilty because we’ve all a bit of the dick gene within us. Yours truly included!
I know what you’re thinking — my coconut looks gigantic and my hot dogs a little prickly! Sexy legs aside, unfortunately, that picture might not depict reality. First of all, I was forced to do about 150 squats that morning so my ass and legs were killing me. Secondly, and this is probably more important: While I’ve made a conscious decision and trained my mind over time to focus on the good rather than the bad — I can assure you that if I wanted to, I could highlight and dwell on plenty of shit that went wrong over the past week/month/year in my life. But in doing so, I would be opting for a shitty existence. True story. Nobody knows about the struggles we all face because we rarely advertise them, but that one picture has the power to paint an altogether different picture and spark an opinion in everybody’s mind (indifferent or otherwise). And if I were fixated on happiness (which I used to be), whatever struggles that came up recently would most definitely be at the forefront of my mind to the point where they’d become polarizing, and that coconut would taste like the piss of a severely dehydrated Orangutan, starved in a planet where corporate greed and profit is more important then the preservation of life.
If you hit the streets and ask people what they want from life or what their ultimate life goal is, many will tell you in a soft voice with a sigh, “I just want to be happy.” The subtext of course being, “is that too much to ask?” Well, yes actually. The intention is good, but the reality is impossible. Pain is inevitable, and resistance only perpetuates it. So what do you think this tells our primitive subconscious mind which doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to rationalization? It reaffirms the false belief that we need to be happy all the time. So now, in those moments when life soaks us in shit, instead of brushing it off, investigating, or seeking a solution, we have a tendency to let it spiral out of control while losing all rationale in the process, and arriving at a conclusion that couldn’t be further from the truth — “Oh my God, I’m not happy. I’ve literally fucked my entire life up.”
Happy people aren’t constantly seeking happiness. They’re content and roll with the punches because they’ve aligned themselves with good values. And because of this mindset, they experience positive emotions more than those whose life goal is to be happy. It is altogether possible for somebody with depression or an anxiety disorder to experience the happiness emotion with more potency than somebody who has zero understanding of either disorder, but the fall off for those affected by the former is far greater, and the sentence much tougher.
“In life, we’ve got to see things as they are. Not worse than they are. — Tony Robbins
The Mr. Miyagi Way
The Karate Kid sits right up there with all the classics (not the Will Smith one, sorry kids), so you know, obviously it should play a pivotal role in this article. Now has come the time for me to impart some Miyagi wisdom upon you.
Life is complicated. Almost nothing makes sense. Nothing. Why else do we argue everything and agree on hardly anything — I had a friend try telling me the world was flat the other day! If you haven’t watched The Karate Kid, you ought to be seriously ashamed of yourself. For the purpose of this excerpt, know that Daniel is the student, and Mr. Miyagi is the master. In his quest to kick the shit out of his bullies, Daniel had no choice but to accept what made no sense to him. His bullies were already black belts, and a Cocker Spaniel would have kicked the shit out of Daniel. After much persistence, and witnessing the bullies with their ‘no mercy’ attitude beat Daniel to near death, Mr. Miyagi agreed to take him under his wing and in essence, turn the student into the master.
Daniel had found his Sensei. Mr. Miyagi laid down the law from the outset: do exactly as I say and ask no questions ever! An elated Daniel agreed as he began to envision the pricks that had made his life miserable laid out on the ground doing some begging of their own. It was a few days into his training regime when frustration mounted and patience wore thin for Daniel because the only thing he could kick the shit out of was the bucket used to hold suds for the 20 something cars he was instructed to wash. Or was it? “DANIEL SON — SHOW ME WAX ON, WAX OFF.” Unfortunately, I can’t do the accent but after a few minutes of “what the actual fuck is going on here?” Daniel, in utter disbelief, finally understood the method behind his Sensei’s madness as he suddenly found himself defending against Miyagi’s attack. From that moment on, he didn’t dare question his master again. I think what I’m probably trying to say here is that you shouldn’t dare question me either!! I kid!
Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel a great life lesson: envision the end goal but do not become fixated on it. Instead, obsess over the steps leading up to it. Happiness (if we must call it that) is not a product — it’s a byproduct of healthy values, beliefs, and behaviors. Without Mr. Miyagi, Daniel would have got the shit kicked out of him and remained unhappy due to a reckless approach. Under Mr. Miyagi’s guidance, everything was meticulously calculated with the required time given to each incremental step in the process. And because of this, it was Daniel who got to put on the shit-kickers, and kick some shit! And guess what? He enjoyed the process. At least after the initial hump.
Focus on the micro goals leading up to the greater one, and much sooner than your current ambitions will allow for, you’ll be blindsided by the epiphany that life is actually pretty sweet. Contrarily, the more you focus on that obnoxious word everybody keeps shoving down each other’s throats, the further that epiphany will drift from your reach.
You can’t be content in life if you’re fixated on happy because you’ll miss out on all the necessary ingredients.
Stop overwhelming yourself with this delusional thought that you have to be happy right now, and worse still, all the time. It’s utter horse shit. Happy meals don’t define you: it’s the tough times that build character while providing the motivation and drive to accomplish whatever feat you desire.
I don’t know what’s going to make you content in your life, but I’ll bet by focussing your energy on the individual steps in the process, you’ll be fast-tracked to a place of contentment where you’ll experience the happiness emotion far more often than you currently do. And when you do finally make peace with your emotions, you’ll know who to thank for it — the dudes who wrote, produced and directed The Karate Kid, and Mr. Miyagi himself. May he R.I.P.
So like I said from the outset: fuck happiness. That’s what Mr. Meyagi taught Daniel (metaphorically speaking of course), and look how that turned out. Happiest fucker ever!