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Life and Happiness

7 Misconceptions About Happiness You Should Definitely Know

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Happiness. A word that everyone seems to be talking about these days. Over years, we have been taught about a lot of things that they say can make us happy. But most of them turned out to be misconceptions that we often overlook.

Undeniably, this word has covered a lot of meaning throughout time. Since the ancient Greeks, happiness is attempted to be described, taping it with the word eudaimonia which means “to live well”.

In an article I’ve read, modern science looks at happiness to be related to hedonism— the pursuit of pleasure.

Moreover, science has established this certain concept surrounding the word, which gave birth to terms like subjective well-being. Some other studies propose happiness is an unmeasurable condition.

As you see, happiness is such a big word for it to be bounded solely by its definitions. There are so many studies about happiness and its entirety that gave it a deeper, more substantial meaning.

What I believe is that happiness is about having a sense of well-being, not just for one part of your life. I think that happiness is a subtle yet ever-lingering state that reminds you that you are well and okay. It’s also achieving security and high satisfaction in life.

The fact is many people often build misconceptions about the H-word. We try to define it as if it was a simple concept; a mere feeling of being happy. Something that we can control, achieved in an easier, more convenient way.

But trust me, we don’t want that. What we want is to train ourselves to be someone who regularly sees the opportunities to feel happy in our lives, and taking and using those opportunities to achieve better well-being. And doing this isn’t an easy road to follow.

The first step is to get more understanding of what happiness really governs.

So, before we dive into the good things about finding happiness in your life, I’m going to share with you some common misconceptions about happiness. I hope you read on and enjoy reading! 🙂

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There’s no shortcut to happiness

Achieving genuine happiness is more than just a blissful feeling. It rhymes with the words, contentment, well-being, gratitude, a silver-lining, which are more stable and profound words.

This is the first and probably the most important misconception we need to take into account. If we want to be happy, we’ve got to have patience. We may have to establish better habits, and establishing better habits take time and effort to get into our system.

If you want to know more about the power of establishing better habits for your development, you can read my guest post blog here.

What I’m trying to say is, a few inconsistent efforts won’t do it. It’s not easy to maintain it in our life. One day or the other, we will eventually lose it and then we’ll have to look for it again.

We can’t really get a hold of it and expect that everything will be okay from then on. Life will find ways to take our happiness from us. We should have a better and more consistent way of achieving our sense of well-being.

It takes good effort and determination! Trust yourself and believe that you can be a person who regularly sees those happiness opportunities.

It isn’t measured by how many objects you have in life

People let their happiness depend on the things that they have. We are so materially dependent that we literally measure everything– our health, life satisfaction, social status, career, and well-being– by the objects that we obtain in our life.

People think that having these objects will satisfy them even in the long run. But it doesn’t. This is an unhealthy habit you have to break. This keeps you from appreciating your life!

Clinging into these materialistic things will just make you a person with lower life satisfaction and will possibly keep you waning for more. This can mean that you will never be fully happy.

Science suggests that wanting materialistic things that stick around can cause your hedonic adaptation to happen faster which is actually bad for your happiness.

If you become easily adapted to happiness, your happiness level can go back to its baseline and you will easily get bored with the things that you acquire.

Read my guest post, Hedonic Adaptation of Life, to know more about this phenomenon.

Sometimes you have no control over who or what affects your happiness

Another important misconception about happiness is that sometimes when we look at being happy, we think that it is something that is totally under our control.

But I have learned that there’s just much we can control. And oftentimes, our happiness is greatly influenced by a lot of things. Say like, the people around us, and our environment– which is not within our control.

There will be times when even our own minds are making us unhappy. It’s important to remember because maybe we force ourselves to feel happy even if we don’t feel like it. That’s totally okay. Because being happy also means that you know everything will be okay at some point.

What we can do is we can look and focus on the things that we can control and provide happiness for us.

Happiness can be found in struggles too

Do you know what makes an achievement so fulfilling? Aside from the fact that we did our best to achieve a specific goal, and finally being proud of ourselves, it’s because of those struggles that we overcame too.

It’s a realistic idea that our struggles are important for our happiness too, simply because they make us more resilient, and wise. And overcoming struggles feel good in the end.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced the concept of flow and said, “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing ones. The best moments really occur when a person’s body and mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Happiness is not just an expression of happy feelings like laughter and smiles, sometimes you feel happy inside when you experience flow too, which have been proven to be a necessary tool for achieving well-being.

I suggest you take refuge in your struggles too. They have been found to make us more grateful for the things that we have in life.

Happiness takes hard work

Happy people nurture their happiness. They always find reasons and ways to maintain it. They work hard changing their habits until they form into behavior that can increase their satisfaction in life.

Some studies show that one of the characteristics of happy people is that they have a social connection with others. Being able to communicate well with others apparently makes us happy.

You may think that this is good for extroverted people but what about introverted ones? The truth is, introverts and extroverts are just as happy when they socialize with other people.

Happy people have this kind of special talent wherein they often see some silver lining in certain situations and that talent takes hard work for others. You have to make an effort and help yourself find a simple gratification every day of your life.

Happiness isn’t something you can feel without doing anything. Even in worse situations, let us try to be the person who still sees something worth thanking for.

If you think that your circumstance is what’s stopping you from being happy, think again

You may think that changing the situation that you’re currently in will make you feel happier. Perhaps, you would think that becoming richer will make you happier. Or increasing your income money will finally make you more satisfied in life. It doesn’t actually work for all people.

You badly want an out every time you find yourself in a bit of a pickle and you wish things could just change to make you feel better. But truthfully speaking, every time that we get more of what we want, what we think we need actually increases too.

An article by John Rampton featured a Princeton study that says, “having a higher income increases happiness but only up to about $75,000 per year.”

We can be happier by changing our circumstances only to an extent. And after that, it really doesn’t get any better. Sometimes it just gets worse.

If you’re a man who has a stable job and has achieved financial stability, constantly wanting to have more can negatively affect your well-being.

If you think that you’re not earning enough so you’re not happy, maybe you ought to reflect on what you have and how blessed you are for even having that kind of stability in life.

It’s important to understand that we can always find happy moments even in situations where we don’t want to be in. The need to improve our circumstances won’t probably help us all the time. Sometimes we just got to work with what we got. Make special moments out of it, and focus on our well-being.

Everyone can learn to be happy

Finally, the last misconception about happiness that I would like to talk about. If you think that you will never be like those happy people who find good in everything, let me stop you right now. You’re wrong. With time, everyone can learn to be happy.

This is what’s great about the whole idea of happiness! Even those people diagnosed with clinical depressions, suicidal tendencies, and traumas can help themselves find light in dark moments. Some can learn how to reach out, and some can progress with the right kind of help.

Happiness can be learned, practiced, and maintained by doing the right things that will help us. Training our minds to achieve better thinking, behavior, and understanding of life is such a helpful way to improve one step at a time.

Let’s train our minds to constantly seek opportunities to be happy. The first step is to get more understanding of what happiness really governs. Now the second one is to put what you know into action.

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What have you learned about happiness so far? Did you know about these misconceptions? What other misconceptions did you know about happiness? Comment down your thoughts below!

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58 Comments

  • Paul

    This may sound odd, but I think our society places too much emphasis on being happy all of the time. There’s an old saying that the land of eternal sunshine is a desert. That’s the life of perpetual happiness, or at least the constant, treadmill-like pursuit of it. Sadness and the other “negative” emotions we run and hide from the world are useful in the same ways that physical pain is useful to body. Physical pain tells us something is wrong and we need to do something about it. Emotional pain too. This is good. This is useful. This is necessary. Not all the time, mind you, but enough to be the rain that keeps that desert green. Paul

    • Elle

      I understand where you’re coming from and I totally agree with you, Paul! 😉 It is a desert. It really isn’t a place we can go to and stay forever. Because life is a constant struggle of pain and pleasure, I believe that we can learn so much from everything that happens to us, in our lives– the pain, the sadness, and even those unfortunate events, I believe in them–and yet still chose to grow from it, to find something that can be grateful from it. In those moments, is where we really learn how we can be well and okay. Not only in the experiences that we think will makes us happy, but also from those experiences that make us sad too. That’s it. I love your comment, you rock my world. 💕

  • Beaton

    The pursuit of happiness,some people are focused on achieving happiness that they miss out on it, mistaking it for success and other achievements….

    Oft times happiness isnt a spectacle it could be as simple as a raindrop that lands on your face and it tickles….

    With the right mindset ne can find happiness even in the most grim circumstances

    ~B

  • Anika May

    Great post, I definitely agree with a lot of your points. Most of the time, I find genuine happiness in the most simple things, even though we’re taught to think it comes with the major events in life. And I also agree that it takes hard work to achieve and maintain, but I often find that the satisfaction lasts longer if you really worked for it 🙂

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

  • thewheelchairteen

    I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the film: ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’ but there’s a quote in there that I really liked which goes: ‘We should be less concerned with the pursuit of happiness and more occupied with the happiness of pursuit.’ It reminded me of your advice that happiness doesn’t depend on the greatness of your experience but rather on the frequentness of said experiences. Too many people aim towards one big, major thing that will make them happy and don’t care how they feel while they’re working towards it. Instead, they should find the small, frequent pockects of happiness that can be found in the pursuit of said goal. Thank you for spreading positivity and showing people the right way to think if they truly want to be happy!

    • Elle

      Exactlyyy! We should care about what we feel when we aim for those big moments too. The journey towards being happy should be enjoyed also. :)) <3 Love this comment, thanks so much for this my friend! :>

    • Elle

      Thank you so much, Lisa! This made my day. <3 Yes, I agree with you that there's still so much we can learn about our own happiness.

  • Michelle

    Great post! Happiness isn’t something you find or that falls out of the air, it’s something that you consciously create. It’s not about the destination, but about the journey.

    All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

    • Elle

      Hey, Michelle! Thanks so much, I’m glad you liked this post. I totally agree, it’s something that people can and should constantly create. <3

      You too! <3

    • Elle

      Thanks so much, Carla! My internet sucked haha I’m glad you liked this!

      Awwee, this is sweet! I’ve missed reading and commenting on yours too XD I missed WordPress people! hihi Have a great week! xo

  • Jaya Avendel

    Love this post! Happiness is created, not discovered. I think ways to be happy can be stumbled upon, but happiness is a mindset that anyone can learn to adopt.
    The little things are what make me happy. 🙂

  • Jeannie

    I like your take on this, very realistic and I agree with delay gratification rather than instant. Also happiness shouldnt be based only on what we have. thank you for sharing

  • thelifeofsasf8d7a2f225

    What a great post! It is so true that happiness takes work, it is definitely a skill that you can get better at over time, not a destination that you reach once you achieve some goal. So many people search for happiness in places, experiences, things, or even people but the reality is happiness is a choice you can make at practically any moment.

  • PoojaG

    So glad you’re able to blog again! I totally agree with everything you mentioned especially that it isn’t measure by having objects. I’ve also learnt over the years that different things bring different people happiness. You should find your own happiness instead of following others because what makes them happy may not necessarily make you happy.

  • nirajshah2003

    Brilliant blog post! Have you completed the online course “The Science of wellbeing” as that talks about a lot of these things. I love the point about how you shouldn’t rely on changing your circumstances to make you happy, as normally that doesn’t work. This is a blog everyone should read as its on such an important topic. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Queenie

    Interesting and insightful read. ❤ Happiness doesnt always depend on money, material, or other people. Sometimes, it’s in the small things, small wins, and even on our normal days. I enjoyed reading this. x

  • Kade Draven

    It’s a tough struggle. The old saying goes, “ignorance is bliss”, and I find the people that are the happiest are those that choose to look only to the things that help them feel stable. Thanks Elle!

  • Ming Qian

    Hey Elle, welcome back after your one month hiatus! It’s great to see you around again. Regarding happiness, I agree with you, and I also think that it is about the attitude that we take towards everything we do. We can ‘train’ ourselves to look at things in a positive light. Even when the going gets tough, the right mindset can keep us positive and hopeful too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elle

      Thank you so much, I appreciate the luvv. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this, I totally agree, attitude is a huge factor too. You’re welcome! 🙂 <3

  • Yinda

    I strongly believe that happiness is intentional. You consciously decide go be happy, not waiting till joy comes to you. This post resonated with me. Loved it. Well done Elle. ☺

    • Elle

      Hi, Yinda! I agree with you. I’m glad that this post spoke to you, and thank you so much for being here. 🙂 Have a good week, luv. xx

  • Alicia Francis

    This is a beautiful article. I don’t think enough people understand the importance of true happiness. And you are right, there’s no short cut and instant gratification of stiff won’t make you actually happy. I also like that you mention the small moments. I think a lot of people have the belief that if you’re truly happy you’re in a good mood all the time. Loved reading this. Thanks for sharing

    • Elle

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post, Alicia! It can really be easy to be overlooked because, as humans, we keep wanting material things for us that it has become the basis of our well-being. We think that being well-off is actually something that would satisfy our overall well-being. I’m glad you appreciate this, thank you 😊✨

  • Clarissa

    Great post Elle! When things were all locked down in March I did a ton of reading about happiness. And people really do have a lot of misconceptions about it. But I 100% believe that happiness is a choice, a habit, something we have to work towards constantly like anything else worth having in life.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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