Today the website of Action for Happiness was launched. Their stated aim is to promote “a change of priorities, both at the societal level and as individuals. Happiness and fulfilment come less from material wealth and more from relationships; less from focussing on ourselves and more from helping others; less from external factors outside our control and more from the way in which we choose to react to what happens to us.”
While on the one hand I couldn’t agree more, I am also concerned that natural ‘unhappiness’ is becoming increasingly marginalised.
While modern society is doing its best to erase unhappiness, I believe the result is greater unhappiness. There is both an increased ignorance about, and intolerance towards the times in our lives that are marked by an absence of happiness.
Being happy all the time is not a normal human condition. Life can be really tough sometimes, and when our need to grieve, or to be angry, is inhibited because society tells us to be positive and upbeat, it’s like adding insult to injury.
While therapists can sometimes be accused of being too interested in pain, sorrow, grieving, etc, our focus is to help people accept and come through these feelings, which then naturally leads to more harmony and joy. So the job is not to strive for happiness for the sake of happiness, but to be at peace with ALL of our emotions, good, bad, scary, weird… so that you can experience yourself as a whole and undivided being.
Contentment is the most lasting form of happiness, and if you can find it in you to be content with who you are, att all times, never mind what the neighbours say, or the newspapers, then that is a form of happiness that sustains you through even in the darkest of days.
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