On their website, Psychology Today defines Happiness as an “electrifying and elusive state.” This can be an excellent play of words, BUT the idea of Happiness being elusive is also a common misconception or limiting belief. Therefore, even writers of Psychology Today can have limiting thoughts regarding what it takes to be happy. After all, I’ve been saying for a while that Optimal Happiness is an entirely different field from Positive Psychology and traditional psychology. So it requires us to think outside of the box. In the case of Happiness being an elusive state, we need to understand why this is a case specifically, as failing to address this can prevent us from reaching our happiness potential.
The danger of Defining Happiness as “Elusive”
It may sound innocent to call happiness “elusive.” No harm was done. We tend to disagree. There are numerous misconceptions and limiting beliefs about Happiness that are circulating the world, each of them limiting our ability to be happy. They define us to the degree that if we believe them to be accurate, we can’t see the other possibility, i.e., becoming Optimally Happy. After all, Henry Ford once said that “if you think you can or can’t, you are right.” The same applies to the study of Happiness. If you don’t think you can be happy, you are right, and the other way around.
In the case of Happiness being elusive, specifically, if we believe that we can never indeed be happy, we will never try to be satisfied. After all, why bother? And yet, every day we spend countless time, money, and energy pursuing this state, while we also believe that it is impossible to be happy? Something is wrong here.
The Origin of the Myth That Happiness is Elusive
The only reason we believe Happiness is elusive is that we are not doing it right. Specifically, Today, we are buying and interacting with all sorts of products that society tells us to buy. Society promises us that this consumption will directly or indirectly lead us to Happiness, and if you are still not happy. Today you are only not doing it enough. In other words, society tells us to dress up in nice clothes, get married, and buy a new car. And while all of these things correlate with Happiness, it is also true that everything correlated with Happiness. The question, however, to what degree is this going to make us long-term Happiness?
And so we buy all these things that society tells us to buy and do all the steps in between, and we are still not happy. Not surprisingly, we start to believe that Happiness is elusive and that we can never be truly happy, while in reality, we are looking for Happiness in all the wrong places.
Short- vs. Long-Term Emotions
A different reason why people can believe that Happiness is because they confuse short- and long-term Happiness. For example, eating cake will give us pleasure in a moment, while it can make us fat in the long-term. Similarly, going to the gym can make our body ache for a few hours, but in the long-term, it will give us the body that we want, which will also translate into higher life satisfaction.
In other words, often, people think of these short-term emotions like Happiness, while short-term emotions tend to fade away quite fast. This leads some people to behave as if they were emotional junkies, looking for Happiness hit in all sorts of small ways, such as checking social media, buying things they don’t need, and sleeping in. Then, they state that Happiness is elusive and that they can never be happy, while, again, they are just following a broken social model of Happiness.
Happiness is Not Elusive
Oppositely, our whole writing surrounds the idea that true and unconditional Happiness is possible Today and forever if only you follow the correct formula, which is different from the one provided by our society Today. Now, I spent the entirety of this blog writing about this topic and summarised the most important information in my book Optimal Happiness: A Study of the Happiest People Alive. As such, this article was written to make a few points:
1) Even the expert can be wrong – I want to build on this more in upcoming articles, so stay tuned!
2) There are many different happiness misconceptions and limiting beliefs – We want to address all of them all; otherwise, they can determine our capacity to be happy.
3) Happiness is not elusive – Our limiting beliefs can sound very innocent, but they often have a strong underlying cause.
“Happiness is an electrifying and elusive state,” as it was mentioned on 10 of December 2020 on https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/happiness.
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