27 Sep Appreciation can bring happiness
Appreciation can bring happiness
By: Lindsay Casale
Why is it that we always want what we can’t have?
It rarely seems that we’re truly satisfied with what we already have, and as a result, we’re infatuated with obtaining what we think we want instead. But what we want isn’t necessarily what’s going to make us happy.
I have always tried to convince myself that if I look more appealing, buy something new or go to the gym more often, that I’m going to feel better about myself and be happier as a result. But what I usually find is that after doing these things I still feel the same way. I might feel better for a moment, but I quickly learn that once I finally have that certain something, my satisfaction of having it depletes.
Because of the media’s unavoidable influence in our lives, we are constantly told that we need to look for more than what we have. Whether it’s a new car, a different hair product or better tasting food, all of these things will always keep us feeling inadequate to society’s standards. This way we will never stop searching for the one thing that will supposedly make us feel complete.
But in searching for this something that you think will make you happier, you may find that once you get it, you still feel unsatisfied in the long run.
Take for instance sophomore Nichole Carey.
“I have always wanted something that just came out or a popular material thing,” Carey said. “But once I got it, I didn’t really care for it in the next week or so.”
Senior Danny Concepcion always thought he wanted to have responsibilities when he was growing up. But when he got older he began to realize that life’s obligations seemed a lot easier when he was younger, he said.
“I think people idealize the things they go after, so those things always seem better when people don’t have them,” Concepcion said. “It’s more reward in the process than the destination.”
Wai-hung Wong, an associate professor in the philosophy department, has a similar point of view.
“It is not because we think we want it; we already want it,” Wong said. “But if we think it is unlikely that we will have it, we will want it even more strongly because having it will then be a kind of achievement on top of the satisfaction the thing will give us.”
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Everything could be going well in our lives, but we won’t allow ourselves to be content with what we have. Yet once we obtain the unobtainable, we begin to realize that by finally getting what we want, we’re still just as unsatisfied as we were before.
By being so concerned with what we don’t have, we tend to neglect all of the great things we do have. And if you discover what your own definition of happiness is, then your impulsiveness to strive for more may surprisingly disappear.
If we can learn to stop searching for what we think we want and start appreciating all of the things that we already have, then it could essentially lead to a more fulfilling and happy life.