Do You Have to be Happy?

by patio34 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • patio34
    "The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness." --Wm. Saroyan, American writer about 1920.

    That statement can give freedom and contentment by not trying to analyze why one is not "happy" at a particular moment. There is also freedom: one can go somewhere or do something without demanding it make give happy. Few things can measure up to this standard. Moreover, one is spared the disappointment and worry when not feeling happy. Does this mean one is unhappy? I don't think so. There's a lot of middle ground and a plethora of other emotions to feel. You can be neutral, which may lead to introspection and fresh ideas. Happiness is touted as a daily state by JWs ("true happiness"). Every day, every minute can change and emotions ebb and wane and are ever-changing. Is it realistic to expect to feel happy? Is it worth it? Things can be pleasant and enjoyable without making you happy. And it's okay to be UNhappy once in a while too, imo. By having unrealistic expectations, it can undermine a person to think something's wrong and needs to be fixed. We're human and maybe it's not normal nor required for us to be "happy." We can take care of requirements, but maybe happiness isn't one of them--at least not as a constant. After all, idiots can be happy all the time. Drunks can be very happy. And there's a difference between being cheerful and happy too. What do you think?

  • FlyingHighNow

    There are some serious things in my life that make me feel sadness; but I have mastered the art of being happy anyway. I do think being happy is superior to being unhappy.

    I have one policy that has helped me to be happier than any one other factor. I'll tell you what it is: if someone causes me to be unhappy everytime I see them, I avoid them. If you make me feel bad then you lose the honor of my company. I am talking about deliberately nasty people, not depressed people. This is one reason I am no longer one of JWs. They bring me down.


  • Markfromcali

    Clearly this quote and others similar to it point to something that is more than an emotional state. If your happiness is just an emotional one, then it is bound to come and go. Chasing after it would be futile, and there is the possibility of addiction - one may become a joy junkie. Like all addicts you are going to be in withdrawal sometimes.

    It is not only okay to be unhappy sometimes, it's totally natural. We don't think of natural things like eating and sleeping as "okay", that you even need to consider the thought of okayness in order to see it is a part of the natural state of things shows the kind of insanity that has been perpetuated. It's just the way it is, why would it possibly not be okay? The not-okayness would just be a judgement you have in the mind about it, which means it is just your reality - and THAT is an unhappy state.

  • FlyingHighNow

    I think a better word for the way I feel is content. I don't mean complacent. I mean content.


  • frankiespeakin

    My experience is that if your really really happy,, expect to be really really sad latter. These periods of happieness can't last forever. I think contentment is by far better than any kind of exhilarating happiness. Of course if something makes you happy enjoy it, but try not to get too fond of it,, because happy feelings are not permanant, and there seems to be some sort of law about diminising returns by repeating things that make us happy.

    I think contentment to be superior to exhilarating happiness. Learning how to take life's sad and happy moments together I think can be a way to minimize suffering.

  • dh

    i've never seen that quote before, but when i joined jwd my profile bio used to say 'because there's more to life than happiness'... though i do think it's better to live a happy life than an unhappy one, i think the trick of life is to just get on with things and not dwell on misery, misery is an ego, it loves itself. there is more to life than happiness, if there wasn't i would have been born dead.

  • sleepy

    No , but it helps.

  • patio34

    Thanks for all the good posts! There's a lot to think about, and I concur about contentment.

    Dr. Wayne Dyer also says something like being unhappy for all the "suffering" isn't going to change one thing.

    It IS so hot here today! 90 degrees plus!



  • garybuss

    Happy is just a peak. I'd much rather be comfortable than happy. Happy comes from a word that means "happen". It's not a condition, it's an event. If happy was related to eating, it would mean full after a great meal. That is an event but not a condition.

    Comfortable is a condition, warm, clean, fed, rested, basic human needs all met. I can live fine without being "happy". My life would suck if I can not live comfortable.

  • bigboi

    Wow. This has kinda been my particular approach to things although I had no idea how to exactly put it into words. I had a professor who once kinda reprimanded me for saying that Ihad low-self esteem. She said in esscence no one always feels good about themselves all the time and that experiencing that from time to time was totally normal. She was right. Happiness is a word like love that is thrown around all over the place, but few actually know what it means to them. It feels as if people are always expected to be on some sort of high from life. Like you said Patio, it becomes a problem when perfectly normal people begin to think something is wrong when they don't feel this "high" all the time.

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