Why I Don’t Want To Be Happy
If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard someone say that they just want their kids to be happy I think I’d be pretty rich.
That’s not to say it isn’t something I’ve thought on occasion. I have, and the older they get and the more of the world they encounter, the more I want for them to be happy…by which I really mean, I want them to be OK – not marred by a world that can be cruel and relentless.
But I don’t really want them to be happy and I don’t want to be a seeker of happiness myself. Why?
Happiness is fleeting. Being happy is light and fluffy and as much as it’s deep and meaningful. My yellow shoes make me happy, a good nights sleep makes me happy, a day in the sun with people I love makes me happy. But thrown in a child having a tantrum or spilling their entire, sticky, drink all over me or perhaps a long day and a late lunch and all of a sudden the sun isn’t enough to make me happy – I’m tired, cranky and uncomfortable. That’s life. It’s not all peaches and sunshine and that’s entirely normal. If I desire nothing more than happiness, I will be constantly disappointed.
Happiness doesn’t teach. If someone was happy all the time (not that I believe such a person exists) what kind of depth would there be to them? It’s the downs as much, or perhaps more, than the ups, that teach us. We learn patience, empathy, tenacity and so much more through the times when we are unhappy, or when life is hard. Being challenged and pushed are good things, and make us deeper and richer people. I want my children to be strong and courageous, to have good problem solving skills and empathy for people facing hardship. These are not qualities they will learn from being happy all the time.
Happiness is superficial. There are many things I want out of life and I am so blessed to live in a time and place where the possibilities are tremendous. At the end of the day I don’t want to be “happy”, and I don’t want my kids to “just be happy”. I want us to be people who respond well during the times when we are not happy.
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