I posted the other day that I was thinking of changing the name of this blog to “Happiness is over-rated”.
The reason for the change was that I was getting fed up with the focus on happiness – just about everywhere I look everyone seems to be talking about it.
I have probably read more books on happiness than most sane people (something to do with being burdened with a negative outlook). I agree that it’s a worthy topic. But there’s something about the word that annoys me.
Don’t get me wrong. I am overjoyed that the discipline of positive psychology now exists. When I was at Uni it all seemed to be just a big battle over whether rats had minds.
But life is complicated. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.
Happiness, by contrast, seems to me to mean a “state” (a way of being) that is just good. Happiness is something we admire, something that is better than what we have. Something to strive for.
And all that striving after getting better can be exhausting.
As a friend said the other day, it’s important to distinguish between lakes and rivers. Surely life is more like a river than a lake?
I am not talking about flow, as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Flow sometimes seems even harder to attain. Great if you’re a top athlete or top musician. But what about me?
I just mean living life, with all its ups and downs. From beginning to end. Through the rapids, the eddies and the calmer bits too.
Accepting the rough with the smooth seems, to me, a better route.