How Does Our Description of Happiness Affect Us?

“Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want.” Alan Cohen

Our brains work very intelligently and can produce thousands of excuses not to do what we have to do. One of the favorite reasons that why the brain produces such excuses is that it doesn’t feel motivated. So, what is the point of not being motivated? When most people say that they are not motivated, they mean that they don’t feel very well, they don’t feel energetic, or they feel anxious, nervous, or tired. Moreover, they generally think and say when they feel better; they are going to do what they need to do. Usually, these kinds of people decide not to do what needs to be done until they feel good, and they postpone them. If your thoughts about motivation are similar to this example, it will be tough for you to move forward in life. Why? Because if your motivation related to feelings, for instance feeling good, being peaceful or joyful, you might be stuck in the comfort zone. Most probably you will never be able to show the effort required to achieve what you have dreamed, and as a result, you will despair.

A famous writer, Dr. Russ Harris suggests finding a different motivational source. To be motivated, he emphasizes that instead of being attached to emotions, we need to bring our values to the fore. This change in behavior will give you the immediate advantage of achieving development in life instead of waiting for the right moment. When your goals are clear, and you try to reach them by taking power from your values, the thought in your mind will change into, “What I have to do right now for achieving my future goals is working hard” instead of  “I’m unhappy right now, I don’t want to deal with it.”.

Why shouldn’t we wait until we feel happy to have any action? One of the vital reason is that favorite opinion about happiness can make you unhappy, even hopeless. I suggest you the book “Happiness Trap” about happiness. Dr. Harris is talking about false happiness myths. Let’s have a look at some of them;

Happiness is a natural process: A person who has enough food, water and shelter and in addition to these, have a lovely family, always feels happy. This idea does not conform to reality. Every person has a very volatile emotional state. Sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels terrible, and it may not be due to a specific cause.

Happiness is the state of feeling good: If we look at the dictionary definition (in the current Turkish dictionary, TDK) happiness is defined as, “a state of complete pride for all to the aspirations being achieved and the state of feeling that being continuously good.” Doesn’t it seem to you that this definition is too intense to last long?

If we define and perceive the concept of happiness that way, happiness is doomed to remain a myth and would not last for a long time. Think of the day or moment you feel the happiest; how long did it take?

If you do not feel happy, it means that you might have a problem: Day by day this idea is spreading, and people are trying to solve this situation with antidepressants. However, if you feel unhappy, it means that you are perfectly normal and healthy. Being not happy is a very natural situation. Life is not easy; naturally, there is no such thing as constantly feeling happiness. Am I right? Can you feel good all the time? Is there anyone that thinks that life is so easy?

The lesson we can learn  is that life is complicated. Therefore, it is not possible to feel very happy most of the time. On the other hand, it is entirely possible for you to move forward in line with your goals, focusing your values instead of emotions. By that way, how you feel will be less critical, and you will be able to do what you need to do. Be sure to try.


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