Amirah Ahmad Shah
What's My Purpose? The Misconception of the Pursuit of Happiness.
We don't pursue happiness. We don't chase it. Because when we do, it does the opposite. It makes us UNhappy.
Happiness is more like a by-product of another pursuit- and that is the pursuit of of Purpose or Meaning. That is the 'end' goal (which does not really have an end), and in fulfilling that purpose or meaning,
you are driven-
you have drive-
you go and keep going-
you learn more,
you get even better,
you do more,
you aim higher,
you go harder, and so on.
We Need Meaning. We need to be Purposeful.
Thus is the journey towards fulfilling purpose and meaning, and in the mean time, you're thrilled, you're happy.
So to treat happiness like a commodity, or a human right does not make sense because happiness is the natural product of attitudes and actions that resonate with you. The more you 'seek' happiness, the Further away you are from it.
Studies have found that our innate altruism comes from our social connections, and that helping others can give you the feeling of meaning. We when look past ourselves and our needs, we start to zoom out, and see the world bigger than we are. And here we find meaning, and our existence has a purpose in the grand scheme of things.
Focus away from your own needs.
We are hardwire to seek meaning, and research shows that people who have a strong sense of purpose live longer, healthier and more satisfying lives. (Must be because they're generally happier!)
So what can You Do?
1) Focus away from your own needs.
Forget about pursuing wellbeing and happiness directly.
2) What's important to you? What do you care about? What are Your Values?
Values matter the most, and remind yourself of them e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y. List in on the fridge or on your whiteboard.
3) When was the last time you felt passionate about something?
Revisit that experience. Dissect it. You might unravel that fundamental element of meaningful from that experience.
4) Do something that is meaningful to you at least every other day.
Find a way to do that, with others in mind, despite your challenging circumstances.
All in all, we are living through challenging times now. Depending on where we are, and our local restrictions and laws, we all still experience some level of uncertainty, fear, and panic spreading faster than the coronavirus.
But to go through this with love and kindness, in solidarity despite isolation, is an act of courage.
It is courageous to be kind and to focus away from yourself when life is challenging for you.
And it is also rewarding.
The takeaway messages for today are:
Don't chase Happiness, Chase Purposefulness.
Focus away from your needs.
Till next post, keep safe and take care.