Is Happiness The Right Goal?

Before we head too far down the path, I thought it was important to acknowledge that not everyone has agreed that happiness is something to be pursued.

George Bernard Shaw said, “A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.”

Author Eric Wilson believes melancholy should be embraced as an essential part of human existence, a quality needed to find truth.

“I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy,” remarked Franz Kafka

Albert Schweitzer, the man upheld for his lifelong missionary work, said, “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”

I have to admit that each of these quotes touches on a part of why I never gave happiness much of my attention. I thought happiness was overrated. It appeared in my life but not under conditions where I had control. I assumed there was something in my unchanging psychologic making that favored sad and bitter.

I don’t believe anymore that happiness is a pointless pursuit or a random mental state, but it took a long time to see that.

As we get started, let me suggest examining your beliefs about happiness.  Happiness is a loaded word that conjures us complicated questions: Does happiness matter? Am I happy? Do I deserve to be happy? Why are everybody else so happy?


I am working on project about happiness, positive psychology, and ways to bring them into your life. You can subscribe for updates here.

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