"Are we meant to be happy?"
This was a question that appeared on Quora, which shocked me that someone even asked it because I thought it is so obvious! Duh, what do we live for if not to be happy?!!
Rather worryingly, I've began seeing some people propose that instead of happiness, seek something else, like meaning; peace; contentment or truth (whatever that means)!
HUGE mistake! Doing so will only serve to distract people from the problem; confuse; and encourage people to settle instead of addressing the issue at its core. And if we go down this route, we may veer further and further away from the truth (talk about seeking the truth)!
The truth is: we are meant to be happy.
Proposing otherwise is at best, a way to cope. And haven't you experienced enough of such coping tactics in your daily life already? When you try to cope with a problem instead of resolving it, it morphs into something else or creates another problem? Some people may not agree with this slippery slope theory, especially when applied here...I blame it on their lack of foresight.
Regardless, I hope we can agree on this - coping is only an interim solution, and the reason why people seek meaning, contentment, peace and so-called truth still boils down to one obvious fact --- they want to feel happy! Ultimately, it is still happiness that they are seeking. Why are they confusing means with objective?
You've gotta know these:
Life's purest joys don't need you to assign meaning to it
When did you ever have to assign meaning to a pure joyous moment like spending quality time with loved ones; doing something that you love or simply basking in nature?
There is a type of happiness that is pure and natural; that is part of your instinct; without you having to force it or even assign meaning to! It just makes you happy! Plain and simple. Are we going to give up on these?
Yes, you'd need to put in some real conscious effort into finding what truly makes you happy but it'd be worth it!!! Don't give up first-tier natural happiness to seek 2nd-tier assigned meaning!
Peace is our most basic state, not the highest
Finding peace is important. But not because it is our highest achievement but because it is the most basic! If you can't feel peace, forget about feeling happy! As Sadhguru would point out to you, today if you want to enjoy your meal, you at least have to feel peaceful within, isn't it?
Our highest achievement is happiness, not peace. We should aim for the highest, not aim lower and lower so that we can reach it.
There is a sweet spot between contentment & betterment
Contentment is an ugly word to me. I've always been unapologetically malcontented with certain aspects of my life while being extremely grateful for what I already have, and that has led me to experience euphoria from time to time and inch closer and closer to my truest and best self.
Contentment is what keeps people from seeking a more fulfilling and happier life as they stay content with dissatisfaction; unhappiness and not ever realising the flourishing and happy lives that they have the potential to have.