“Maybe it’s this expectation though of wanting to be happy that just keeps us from ever getting there. Maybe the more we try to will ourselves to state’s of bliss, the more confused we get – to the point where we don’t recognize ourselves.”
~ Grey’s Anatomy, Season 6, episode “Shiny Happy People”:
Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with depression. I am trying to do what I know to be helpful – staying busy, making plans with friend – basically utilizing opposite action to get up and do things. Despite this, I still do not feel great. It’s not that I’m crying uncontrollably or am incredibly sad, I’m just not happy.
I read an article a few weeks ago in TIME magazine (sadly it is not available online to non-subscribers, otherwise I would post a link to it), about how Americans’ pursuit of happiness is misguided. Rather than searching for happiness, we should be searching for meaning. In turn, having more meaning and feeling more meaningful creates happiness.
To me, this makes perfect sense. As the Grey’s quote says, focusing too much on happiness can create more problems. Having the expectation of happiness just makes me feel even worse about the fact that reality is not meeting my expectations. It’s kind of like the saying “a watched pot never boils.” I find that the more obsessed I become with being happy, the more I focus on just how unhappy I am. My hope is that as I get more involved with work and friends and other aspects of life, the more I will feel like my life has meaning. In turn, that meaning will make me feel happy, which is exactly what the TIME article said.