Why you never find happiness

The Road To Mental Wellness > Opinion piece > Why you never find happiness

Could why you never find happiness be because of the way you define it? Maybe this post can help you find it.

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Have you ever asked yourself questions like “Why can I never seem to find happiness?” Or “Why has life been such a miserable undertaking?” If you have, worry not – you’re not alone.

See, the answers likely lie within your definition of happiness. What is happiness? Is it all the toys, bells and whistles, and success one could possibly accumulate? Or is it like a precious gem: once you have it, you’re sure to keep it?

For many, defining happiness is far from easy. What’s more, it seems to be equally difficult to achieve.

As far as I can tell, the concept of happiness has been hijacked by marketing gurus and billion-dollar companies.

And in their attempt to get you to buy their goods, they have aligned their said goods with the definition of happiness. In other words, if you buy their product, you will be happy. However, it is doing the opposite; it creates a society full of depressed and unfulfilled individuals.

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While millions are almost hell-bent on acquiring certain items in the name of happiness, there are many more who never seem to find it.

And the reason? Happiness is not something you can own, let alone aspire to capture, at least not in a permanent sense.

Really, when you boil it down, happiness is an emotion. It is not, never has been, and never will be, a material object. Moreover, it cannot be sustained and is certainly not a prize.

And if we accept that it is an emotion, which it is, then we have to learn to understand that there is not a human emotion that circulates within our bodies and in our minds, that is permanent.

Simply put, we know we can’t always be angry, we’re not always sad, and we are certainly not always – happy.

Rather, happiness lies somewhere in between misery and elation. And like some sort of power meter, these emotions will fluctuate.

This is precisely why you can never seem to find happiness. Conversely, you are finding it throughout the course of your life in moments. Moments like weddings, the birth of a child, the graduation after a long degree, finding love and so on.

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The hard part, so far as I can tell, is embracing them. Taking a moment to breathe within the state of happiness is priceless. Reflection is your reward.

Sadly, many people chase the idea of happiness – from that “huge” dream house, to accumulating wealth on Wall Street. Ironically, happiness eludes them because they’re busy ignoring the very things that create the most valuable moments in life in the first place: building and maintaining meaningful relationships with other human beings.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t obtain satisfaction through achieving your dreams. However, having a love for what you do – while amazing – still can’t provide you with continuous joy. Furthermore, once one reaches the pinnacle of their desires in life, they often find that it’s very different at the top. Hence the old saying “It’s lonely at the top.”

Author Jonathan Arenburg on the cover of his book, The Road To Mental Wellness

When I went off work because of PTSD, I was left in limbo while I waited to see if I would be awarded Workers Compensation. It was long and painful, hanging in the darkness of my home.

So, I began to try and figure out this PTSD thing; how did I get here? I was a firefighter, so I knew that much but my battled with anxiety and depression was a life-long battle.

I began to write out my story, mostly to help quell the angst of being lonely and in mental illness purgatory. It helped – immensely. I survived the dark because of it.

Now, it’s here – written for therapeutic intervention and published in hopes that it can do the same for you or someone you know…..

While it’s possible to achieve a long period of life satisfaction, you are undoubtedly going to have moments where the feeling of happiness will be overcome by sadness.

From my perspective, one can be very satisfied in a long-term relationship, for example.  However, the happiness and/or lack thereof, needs to be supported. That’s what creates the continuous feeling of love. Or to put it another way, a meaningful connection with another human being.

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Therefore, my definition of happiness is the following: The accumulation of happy moments that create contentment through strong, meaningful connection to others.

So, if you’re not finding happiness, perhaps it’s because you are wandering too far from those you love. Or maybe you are not actively seeking connection with others. Either way, loneliness will always be your friend. 

Final thought

Just because society has normalized avoiding others, doesn’t mean that it’s right. In fact, it runs counter to what every human actually needs.

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Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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