April 20, 2016

F*ck Happiness.


*Warning: well-deserved cursing ahead!


Have you ever made happiness your goal? I have.

As a kid I got the message from the big people that I “should be happy.”

As I was growing up, I thought that “being happy” meant that I was supposed to feel good all the time, because that’s what other people wanted and preferred so I did everything possible to act happy and avoid expressing pain or discomfort, stuffing anything that threatened my relationships.

And this is what most kids do.

Like so many of my friends, I was doing my best to make it look like I was happy, because that’s what I was told to be (i.e. “You better wipe that frown off your face right now…”). Sure, sometimes I was genuinely happy and had amazing moments, like any kid. But some of the time I was hurting.

So being a smart little lad, I learned to stuff my hurtingAll it took was being called  “cry baby” or “weak” or a “girl” once or twice and it taught me to bury those strong “negative” emotions otherwise other people wouldn’t like me and I’d lose relationship with them.

And, this was my actual experience: I lost relationship when I wasn’t “good” or “happy.” People got upset and went away.

Because that sucked, and because I felt pretty inadequate at the time, and really wanted acceptance, it became easy to play the “act happy” game but it came at the expense of my authentic self-expression.

My mask, of course, was an act and it’s what most people do on Facebook, in social settings, and business meetings.

Ever notice how people just post half of their life on social media? Just the good stuff, the fun moments, the victories, the happy stuff? Where’s the dark shit? The anger, the rage? the insecurities? The greed, the selfishness, the lying?

Well, most people are like I was: They hide the “bad” stuff and only present the good stuff. Why?  Because we are supposed to be happy, god dammit! And, when you are hurting, you are making other people uncomfortable.

And, this is the game most people play.

And, because most people are suckers for a good game, they also buy products and services that sell happiness. Why? Because deep down inside no one is happy all the time. In fact, as a former psychotherapist and now relationship coach, I’d say most people are miserable, scared, insecure and feel pretty bad about themselves. Look at generation Y and the mounting evidence about how entitled and miserable many of them are

That’s why happiness sells like hot cakes.

Get the latest thing and be happy!

Even the new agers do this. “Get more spiritual and you’ll be more happy!” “My happiness destination is just around the corner after my next yoga teacher training or my next meditation retreat.” Enlightenment is the new happy.

The smart ones eventually see that this is a sham and that it’s impossible to be in a constant state of happiness.

What I notice about people is that the more they chase happiness, the more miserable they are.

So you can fuck happiness or it can fuck you. Your choice.

Remember, happiness is awesome, yes. But like any human emotional experience, it’s temporary.

Instead of buying into the happiness trap, watch it come and go like the clouds, and then be ready for a much more satisfying experience which includes sadness and happiness—love.

Who’s in?


Author: Jayson Gaddis

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: lookcatalog/Flickr, illustration by Daniella Urdinlaiz

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Gina McAuley Apr 27, 2016 11:20am

My Facebook page is full of postive messages and happy photos. Why?? Becase I feel like we all have problems, and my problems are no one elses business. I'm not 'hiding" my problems, i just choose not to share them, as I believe most people do. I dont want to hear about your problems either. None of my business. Do you want to get up one morning and find your FB news feed full of dark negative comments and sadness just because it's real? I don't. The world would really be a miserable place if we all let our darkness show every day.

LeaAnne Killinger Apr 21, 2016 9:21pm

As a person who grew up with chronic, clinical depression (diagnosed as "Major Depression") I saw what 'happy' looked like, but very rarely felt it. I learned through the years how to fake looking happy, in order to be accepted by those around me. Now, as a chronic pain patient with an autoimmune disease, I learn to fake not looking like I'm in pain. To simply remain honest about how we are feeling is to invite criticism and judgement. Sad really.

Tom Marino Apr 21, 2016 1:45pm

Studies have shown that facebook can cause depression because people feel inadequate when they see that everyone is have such a good time!

Ed Hare Apr 20, 2016 11:50am

What is sadness? Is it really a joy in us that we would love to see come alive? As a pointer to what we really want, our sadnesses, even our agonies and despairs, are as vital a part of who we are, are vital parts of what motivates and inspires and if we shut that part of ourselves, and our reality, down, we are cuttting ourselves off from major parts of ourself and the Universe itself. I do not forget my sorrows; I see them as happiness that wants to be. I do not ignore my worries; I let them find the reasons that I don't need to be afraid. I do not hide from my anger; I teach it that anger is really strength and determination in disguise. I shall not abandon any of myself, because these dark parts of me need my journey more than those things about myself some would consider to be more holy. I cannot succeed at knowing the One until I become one with all parts of me. 12/15/2012

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Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, founder of The Relationship School®
, and host of The Smart Couple Podcast , is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school–”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. In 2007 he stopped running away from intimacy, asked his wife to marry him and now they have two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.