Don’t pursue happiness…practice happiness!

Don’t pursue happiness…practice happiness!

via Thought Catalog by Jen Lim

For the majority of my life, I viewed the concept of happiness as a dichotomous switch – either you are or you aren’t. And to a certain extent, I suppose that still holds true. But the more detrimental implication of this way of thinking was that I saw happiness as an end goal to reach, something that I could possess only if I tried hard enough. So what was the problem?

It seemed that the harder I pursued it, the further it slipped out of my grasp.

As the years went by and I started growing out of the confusing, messy haze of adolescence into the even more terrifying realm of young adulthood, I began to hone in more and more on the fact that I simply wasn’t happy.

I became increasingly more fixated on “becoming” happy; it was a devious puzzle that seemingly had no solution. I approached it from every angle I could think of, and laid out plan after plan…although I didn’t exactly expect to wake up one morning and suddenly realize I was happy (a miracle!), I did anticipate the spontaneous realization of happiness. There would be a clear delineation in my life’s timeline when this happened – a neat and singular marker that separated “Jen Before Happiness” and “Jen After Happiness.” It sounds odd when I put it into words now, but my way of thinking clearly supported this impossible hypothesis.

Lately I’ve been tired. Tired from working, working out, school, and just generally trying to operate as a functional human being, but tired of this pursuit. Approaching happiness as a methodical goal to be obtained has left me going in circles, and it seems I’m drifting further away in the process.

I have come to think maybe happiness isn’t a destination I will one day arrive at if only I tried hard enough. Instead, I have been wondering if happiness is actually a dynamic skill that needs to be practiced…

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