25 Stupidly Simple Things Every 20-Something Should Realize

9. Stop chasing after happiness. 

“My advice: Stop searching for happiness.

I know that sounds all sorts of fucked up, but hear me out.

All the self-help books in the world keep telling you to look for happiness. You look around and all your friends seem to have found various forms of it….except for you. You keep trying to get it and you feel you keep failing and it causes you to panic or get depressed or just feel like an all-around failure. But during all this searching and striving and flailing, have you ever really thought about the nature of happiness itself?

Look – happiness is a feeling, not a state of being. It is lovely and it is fleeting but it is NOT – I emphasize, NOT – the state you should be wishing to live in forever.

Think about it this way.

Going about in a constant state of sadness is dangerous, yes? We discourage that, we spend so much time trying to raise people out of it, and we call it depression. We know it’s unhealthy to live in that state.

Why, then, do we think it’s somehow okay to live – much less set a goal – towards a constant state of happiness? Just because one is a pleasant emotion and the other an unpleasant one doesn’t mean one is any better for us than the other. They’re simply two extremes on a straight line – one above, one below. Neither is healthy over the long-term. Both are meant to be experienced only occasionally.

Instead, pursue the healthy. Pursue contentment.

Contentment means you experience the joy and the sadness in your life without expecting anything unrealistic. You can be secure in the knowledge both feelings will eventually dissipate. There will be moments of supreme joy you can embrace and moments of sadness you must endure. Both feelings have their own meaning.

Contentment is attainable. You can look at your life and say, ‘I have enough, right now. I am okay.’ And from there, any steps you make to further your joy will not come from a place of fear, where you feel you MUST find success or happiness – or you have nothing. You will already have enough. Within contentment, you find peace.” — locogirlp

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