And this is what the biggest human frailty is all about. Isn't it? The itch, the hunger, the thirst with which we pursue, chase our 'happiness goals' and manage to realize them, why does it cease to provide the happiness which was the very goal we started the quest.
To me, it is our biggest weakness that ails us, psychology calls it the habituation-a form of learning in which an organism decreases or ceases to respond to a stimulus after repeated presentations.
From a TV to a long-awaited promotion to a Green card to 10000 likes, WE GET USED TO IT ONCE WE HAVE IT AND IT NO MORE MAKES US HAPPY? The acquisition of one leads to a momentary feeling of happiness and then what? WHOOSH!
Happiness is an abstract concept which we have come to define in terms of material acquisitions, coveted degrees, SAT scores, salary, good-looking spouse and the list is infinite. So, we acquire these possessions and try to make ourselves happy only to discern that this CHASE IS NEVER ENDING. Courtesy- HABITUATION. It is this 'get used to' which is the final nail in the coffin. It seals our sense of happiness forever. With this 'used to' one can keep adding more and yet feel empty.
"Once upon a time I desired a fancy life, then I got one and then I got used to it. I craved for a fancier life and I managed to secure it for myself, and then I got used to it.
From fancy to fancier to fanciest, my human nature of 'getting used to' tarnished every happiness that came my way.I started again- the relentless, perpetual, ceaseless persuasion to acquire that other thing which will make me happy. Soon,I am standing at the doorsteps of old age, and wondering ..."
So, are degrees not important? Yes, they are.
Should you flush your money into the drain? No, Of course not. You must be insane to do that.
Is achievement, recognition, a good house, a cool car and a comfortable life nonessential? NO.
Either you be mindful of the value they bring or don't attach your happiness around it and your sorrows around their absence.
Try, if you can, to not float high with joy if you get through the Ivy league college or earn the envious 8 figure salary. Much the same way, to make failures, challenges your personal funeral. If that looks difficult and problematic, try the other one- practice valuing what you have, what you have accomplished, what you craved for, worked for, and got and JUST DON'T GET USED TO IT.
I prefer the former option. I have a tendency of ‘getting used to’ J
The problem with happiness is that it is fleeting ...fleeting till you keep changing its destination from a modular kitchen to a deluxe bathtub to Louis Vuitton handbag. Place it within you and you shall be happy forever irrespective of the circumstances.
Coming to my own parenting and my son, to raise him to be a lifetime hunter is not on my agenda.
To have him value what he has and to try not compare. The comparison makes ‘getting used to’ the easiest thing on planet Earth. I don't want my child to be rich. I want him to have 'just enough'. The strange part is that no material acquisition ever guarantees happiness.
Neither does money. Can money buy happiness? Yes, only if it can pay your bills, it is fair in comparison to what your peers/friends are earning and you get to spend it on others. Others? Really? Why? That is not why I earned money in the first place. Note that we need research to confirm it, but it does: It is better to give than to receive. People report higher levels of happiness when they spend money on others than when they spend it on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with spending on yourself, but when you reach out to others, the feeling is SOLID GOLD, MATCHLESS, ETHEREAL, UNRIVALED. Try it for once. The day you feel the worst, go, and help someone else out. I can bet, you will feel the heaviness of your own heart disappear.
Of course, a bigger house, a comfortable car, right salary can give the happiness kick which you can revel in and enjoy. But there is a catch--------------Researchers have discovered that the less money you have, the more it can impact your happiness when you get more of it. Logical? Yes. If you make $20,000 and you quadruple your income to $80,000, your life satisfaction will improve significantly. But beyond $80,000(good enough amount of money) life satisfaction increases only slightly with increases in income.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue making more money, just know there is a barricade beyond which your money and happiness are not necessarily friends. Be rich if that is what you desire, but do not attach your happiness around the richness. One can get used to richness. And when life defies your expectations, provokes you in painful ways, and threatens your so-called 'happiness' know for sure that you can still be peaceful from within and live a meaningful life. The way I have understood life and this delicate, tender, creamy emotion of happiness is that it has the potential to stay without profit & loss. It’s a myth to say that happiness expresses itself in chest thumping, grand parties, platinum jewellery, twitter followers or a post going viral. Some of the loneliest and unhappy people throng to these parties burdened with their own richness, seeking happiness.
I have a deep sense of appreciation, respect, appetite and longing for a meaningful life. Parenting cannot guarantee happiness to the child every time. What it can assure is 'meaning' so that the child feels worthwhile and purposeful, both in falling and flying high. And done meaningfully, it ensures that you as a parent know that your role is not to make your child reach a happy destination but to be part of the journey. And while the child has come through you, he is not YOU...and all you can do is to help him become HIM in meaningful ways.
I subscribed to the myths for 34 long years and realized late (thankfully it isn’t too late) that this path takes you - NOWHERE.
I now steer my life differently.I have learnt to segment my need, wants and desires. I care a lot about the money I earn, the house and the comfort and the car I drive. I have not renounced the world or the worldly things. But I have learnt to hold back my chase, my desperation for better, bigger, flashier, newer.
To me, parents should make it their first priority to debunk the myths of happiness on which they largely place their life and teach children to realize it as a state of your mind, your being and not emanating from material acquisitions or pleasing people and seeking approval.
While it's the best feeling in the world to see your child happy, I wonder if it is going to happen if he sees you chasing and you teach him how to keep hunting.
HAPPINESS IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. IF YOU WANT TO FIND ONE/FEEL ONE- TRAVEL INWARDS...into yourself and your soul, for out there, in the external world, there is only COMPETITION for MORE and MORE and MORE.THE PROBLEM IS - THIS MORE IS NOT THE PLACE WHERE HAPPINESS RESIDES.