Don’t allow the pursuit of happiness to drive you crazy!

Don’t allow the pursuit of happiness to drive you crazy!

There's nothing wrong at all with actively pursuing happiness unless…

…your goals are completely unrealistic in which case a search, for example, for perfection will only lead to dissatisfaction and disappointment and misery and unhappiness!

Not good. 

So read this article from the Huffington Post and make sure you don't fall into these traps…

by Barbara & Shannon Kelley

The last time our family got together — finding all of us in the same zip code at the same time is a rare and wondrous feat — we hunkered down in a suite at the Holiday Inn Express (backstory not important). With no bar or restaurant in sight, our family of foodies trekked to the closest place of business, a gas station mini mart, and bought tortilla chips, bean dip and salsa and wine, which we drank out of styrofoam coffee cups.

I think we were happy.

I got to thinking about all this happiness business the other day via a piece in the New York Times that suggests that our all-American pursuit of happiness leads to nothing but angst. The writer, Ruth Whippman, a Brit who recently relocated to California, contrasts British grim to American happy and says she'll take grim any day. She starts her piece with a quote from Eric Hoffer — "The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness" — then sails right in:

Happiness in America has become the overachiever's ultimate trophy. A vicious trump card, it outranks professional achievement and social success, family, friendship and even love. Its invocation can deftly minimize others' achievements ("Well, I suppose she has the perfect job and a gorgeous husband, but is she really happy?") and take the shine off our own.

Point taken. We have tied ourselves up in knots of late by using happiness as the barometer of who we are, what we are and what we're doing. And we find that no matter what, the scale is such that we don't measure up. How could we? I can't even define happiness. Can you?

Nonetheless, this endless quest for what we consider our birthright lands us smack in the land of "yeah, but…" A good job that pays the rent? A job that's maybe even engaging for some part of the day? Yeah, but… If I put in a few more hours, if I got that raise, if I had a better title, if i didn't have to grade those papers… Then I'd be happy.

Family and friends? We had a blast the last time we got together, but if only we could do it more often. And, you know, the last time the wine was kinda sub-par….

Great kids? Well, yeah… He/she plays well with others, and indeed rocks the playground, but, sigh, we'd all be happier if he/she could get into that Chinese immersion program, get on the select soccer team, score off the charts in math or get into that pricey school that everyone is talking about.

You get the drift. We've bought into the idea that happy is measurable. For women especially, it breaks down like this: A great career with a fat paycheck and smug title. Exotic vacations (cue Facebook). Adorable family that shows well in the Christmas card photo. And, of course, scores well, too. Sexy as all get-out (and thin to boot). A closet full of killer boots. (Okay, my own personal preference. Note: I do not measure up.) Yoga class and book club and granite in the kitchen.

Is it all about the shoulds?

…keep reading the full & original article on the Huffington Post site HERE