Why we’re not happy

This is where I ask the questions

This is where I ask the questions

We all try so hard to do the right thing, to find the right way, to be a success. We’re all working so hard–so very hard–but we don’t feel satisfied, fulfilled, happy. Why? Because we are putting in all that effort to meet some external measure of success, some model on the outside of what a good life, a successful life should look like.

I sure did. For years and years and years, I tried to be “successful” as a teacher, as a headhunter, as a consultant. And the more I tried to squeeze myself into someone else’s version of “successful” or at least “good enough,” the more miserable I became. Because I didn’t fit that model. The clothes just didn’t fit. And on some level, I knew it. (But that didn’t stop me from trying even harder. Slow learner over here.)

I started blathering about this on the page and realized there is no external model. There never was. It’s a mirage. A compilation of other people’s ideas of “success.”

In the end, there’s only my soul’s version of myself, my own picture of “success.”

What is that? Well, I think it’s nothing more or less than my purpose, my heart’s desire. That’s why the question is “What do you want?” Doesn’t that sound simple? Ricidulously simple? But it’s not. Oh lord, it’s so not simple. It’s THE question and we rarely if ever ask ourselves.

And, sorry, but the answer ain’t Fettucini Alfredo (although lord that does sound good), or a million bucks in the bank (although that sounds even better), or a new car (Lexus, if anyone wants to know), or any other thing. That’s just our materialist society pasting those images of what’s desirable in front of our eyes everywhere we look. We’ve been taught to look outside for validation, credentials, income…all of it. Even relationships somehow have to fit into the “happy family fantasy” mold.

The great gift in our global pain is that everyone, and it does seem everyone, is looking at all the “stuff” and saying, “This isn’t making me happy. In fact, it never did.” And that, I think, is a very good thing.

So what will make you happy? I don’t know. That’s the point, no one outside of you has your answer. But you do. And it’s right in front of you–or rather right inside of you. Just ask. Let your little scared self ask your wise knowing self, “Hey, what do I want, what do I really really want?”

Ask on paper, then write fast. Really really fast. Your wise self has a few surprises for you.

5 Comments on “Why we’re not happy”

  1. Bonnie says:

    Happiness is an inside job, you ‘re so right! In 2003 after having the privilege of being one of the participants in the Authentic Happiness training with Dr. Marty Seligman (Positive Psychology) I made a huge shift. I started to experiencie my life in a different way. It changed how I looked at life, my relationships and how I worked with my clients.

    I think it is interesting that four years later there has been a has been an explosion of happiness books. I think with the economy right now many people are looking at what’s really important. You’re so right on track, of coursel with the outside stuff. We all love the new car, new house, or a great pair of new shoes. Pleasures feel great and are fun to savor but the happiness feeling from outside things just don’t last. The research that has continued over the past 10 years (and some before) is very solid coming to the same conclusions. What is outside us isn’t what makes us truly happy.

    In polling a group of woman for how they would like to feel…. the most popular word surprised me. They wanted to be “fulfilled”. According to the researchers on “happiness” being fulfilled is experiencing a sense of well being. So that really is what we want.

    It’s all about us being who we really are. That makes us “happy” because it is easy once we lift all the other stories we have. When we are who we are we allow others to be their best selves. You said that so well in your Blog post.

    Thank you for you post! I so agree we can connect to how to be happy using our own inner guidance. It’s really not that hard to find your own personal happiness gifts. They’re waiting inside.

    Here’s connecting to your inner happiness,
    Bonnie Snyder

  2. Jean Maurie says:

    Your writing made me think about the Law of Attraction. I’ve been discussing this with several people, one who thinks it just doesn’t work and the other who believes whole heartedly. I’ve read the books and visualized what I wanted, got into the feeling .. but it is all external stuff. They seem to talk about this in most of their works. What is your feelings about this? Just curious.

    • janetconner says:

      Jean Maurie: I’ve been thinking about the LOA a lot lately and I think I’ve figured out why it doesn’t work, or doesn’t appear to work, for me and perhaps for many. I’m prepping a talk about it right now on “Prayer that Works” that I’m giving tomorrow at Unity Truthy Center in Port Richey. I’ll write a nice blog about it on Monday. In the meantime, here’s my quick thought: it’s all about forgiveness.

  3. Jennifer Aldrich says:

    Ahh, the famous question “what do you want?” That is THE question that got me WDYS. I could not answer that question for a long time. Finally woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t stop writing, I want…I want… I want…none of it was material things. It was more like I want a fulfilling relationship, I want to heal myself and others, (which I had no idea what that meant) but I do now. The most important part of that question was answering what I wanted to do. Not what my partner wants, my mother, my father, my friends and so on. This is the quesion that turned my world as I knew it upside down but for the best. If you ask yourself this question be prepared for a huge change.. that is if you want it.

    • janetconner says:

      That’s THE question and it’s the question so few are willing to ask. Too dangerous. Too dangerous to go beyond the surface of “stuff” to soul longings. But you can’t have your “life around the corner” until you ask! It’s a catch 22

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