Happiness is an unattainable concept (Opinion)

The version of happiness we experience now is a temporary and fabricated emotion


Sarah Post

Most individuals have ideas in their mind, vision boards of things they believe will bring them happiness, but this is unrealistic and fake.

Some people’s life objective is to be happy. People want to be successful and have a lot of nice things that bring comfort, which leads them to believe these things would also bring happiness, but what really is happiness? 

Happiness is defined as a “state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”. Seems easy enough, but how can some tell how happy they are, or whether they even are truly happy?

“Happiness” varies from person to person. It is not quantitative. You cannot predict how happy you will be tomorrow or how happy you feel now. Arguably, it cannot be measured on a scale or in comparison to others’ happiness.

Happiness is neither a state of mind nor a location, and to feel happy, an individual must always be accompanied by others.

Think about it — happiness tends to be rooted in core memories. Core memories are typically formed when in the company of others, ensuring that happy memories cannot be made without other individuals. This leads us to the idea that you cannot experience true happiness without socialization.

But socialization in itself can also easily drain us or turn us into versions of ourselves that we don’t resonate with.

So which is it? Do other people help or harm our state of mind?

The idea of someone always looking forward to social events can be connected with seeking validation from others. When this happens, we feel pressured to fulfill others’ way of living rather than our own.

We are pressured by society to appear happy in whatever way those around us define the concept. The majority of people have societal expectations about things like success and wealth, all of which are tied to constantly chasing happiness in the future instead of focusing on our present.

One can be happy after certain moments that cause serotonin to be released in the brain, but happiness is not a linear ongoing feeling. Happiness comes and goes.

The reason someone wants to pursue happiness is because they are not content with their current state. This indicates that one seeks the idea of happiness to get away from where they are at the time; who they are at the present time is not who they desire to be in the future.

Happiness is a gateway drug.

The “state of happiness” in itself is temporary. This proves happiness to be unattainable — happiness is simply distraction, serotonin and dopamine boosts, and being with others.

Many people distract themselves with unhealthy habits just to avoid confronting the reality that they aren’t happy. This can look like substance abuse, overworking, overeating, excessive shopping, etc. 

We have been taught to fill a void. Focusing your attention on something else for a few minutes or hours to distract yourself is not happiness. We are using doses of serotonin to replace real joy with a few hours of cheap happiness.

The real concept of living a happy, joyful life is finding fulfillment in everyday things. When we aren’t constantly trying to chase serotonin fixes, we will finally overcome the fake illusion of happiness and recognize true joy when we see it.