Stop Trying To Be Happy

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s already Friday, but I’m definitely not complaining. I got to sleep until 8am this morning, which felt amazing. It’s also a long weekend, which means no class for me on Monday!

Today’s post is a little different. Instead of sharing a realization or thought, I want to talk through something that’s been on my mind, and I want to hear your thoughts on it…so don’t forget to leave some comments below!

As everyone knows, I love reading self-help books. They get me thinking and help me take charge of my life. Last week, I started reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” by Mark Manson. Now before you start reproaching me for reading a book with that title, bear with me.

As the title alludes to, the book takes an anomalous approach to giving advice. It’s very in your face and lacks the sugar coating many books of this genre possess. After reading about 1/4 of it, I’ve come across three main points that have stuck with me:

  1. Stop caring about everything.
  2. Quit trying to be happy.
  3. Having problems in life is inevitable. The key to happiness is having problems that we enjoy solving.

Personally, I think the last two points are easier to swallow than the first. I’ve realized that the more I try to be happy, the unhappier I am. The reason is simple: happiness is fleeting. The more things we buy to satisfy our happiness, the harder it becomes to satisfy because in the end, we’ll never have enough. Similarly, the more often we wake up and tell ourselves that we’re “going to focus on happiness today”, the more challenging it is to be happy because we become attune to the suffering around us.

Life is full of suffering. Life is full of problems. Mark says that simply trying to ignore this fact is like putting a Band-Aid on a larger wound. It just covers it up. Instead, we should face these dilemmas head on. Furthermore, we should find the problems that we enjoy solving.

I guess this is true. When people love their jobs, it’s because they enjoy solving the difficulties that come with those jobs. I love school because I enjoy solving the problems it presents.

Mark also says that we need to change our perception of problems. We tend to think of them as things that bring adversity, which they can, but they can also foster change. He states, “Problems are life’s way of inducing change.” That’s something I can get behind. When I look back on my life, the most trying times were the ones that taught me the most about what I value and myself. It was those times that, though they sucked at the time, changed my life for the better. Problems have a purpose. That purpose might not always be apparent at first, but it will come in time.

I guess that’s along the same lines as something I’ve said in the past…God has a plan for us that we might not know. He will put us in situations that we see no benefit to, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that He sees the benefit. He sees the purpose, and in my opinion, He knows best.

So on to the final point. The one I’ve really been struggling with: stop caring about everything.

Wow. He definitely didn’t sugarcoat that one.

This point is hard to swallow for me because I’m a giver. I take care of others by giving them my time, my attention, my love, and most of all my cares. I do the same thing in life. It’s draining sometimes, but it’s who I am.

However, that’s the point Mark is trying to get at…it’s draining. We only have so many cares to give in life. If we care about everything, we end up neglecting ourselves in some way or another. Personally, I ignore my own suffering, which ultimately leads to unhappiness.

Now, I don’t think Mark is saying we need to be selfish and not help people. He’s not saying we need to turn our backs when those around us are suffering. He’s saying that we need to realize that we physically cannot care about anything and everything in life without self-deprecation. So, we need to realize there are things outside of our control. For example, we can’t control the weather, so stop mulling on the fact that it’s raining on the neighborhood BBQ. Stop giving the person that cut you off in traffic this morning your energy. We can’t control the actions of others.

So instead of putting our time and energy into things we can’t control, we’d be better off putting them into things we can control. Maybe we move the BBQ inside and choose to rein in our temper.

I realize those are simple examples, but the same rationale applies when a major earthquake strikes an area. Instead of moping around, we should take action. We should join a relief mission or donate money/food. Currently, my apartment is infested with termites. They’re flying around, crawling in my bed, and really getting on my nerves. Instead of complaining about it and waiting on maintenance, I need to realize that I can’t control when the termites decide to come out. I can’t control the simple fact that my apartment has them. But what I can control is where I live, so I should put my time and energy into finding a new place.

It’s time for you to tell me what you think! Leave a comment below. Do you agree, disagree, or are you just as lost as I am? Regardless, I’d love to hear what you have to say! 🙂

As always, thank you for bearing with me. Don’t forget to like and share the post as well. Most importantly, don’t forget that you’re awesome 🙂

On a side note, I’ve been studying for the GRE, and I’m finding myself using the vocab works I’ve been trying to memorize…reproaching, anomalous…maybe that means I’m finally learning them after all 🙂

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