4 Things that Are More Important than Happiness
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but it comes and goes away. It is more important to find a kind of meaning for yourself - something that will be your support. We are trying to find happiness through success, are eager to find a perfect job, a perfect partner, a perfect apartment. But, at the end of the day, instead of satisfaction, we experience anxiety and devastation. How paradoxical it may sound, chasing happiness makes us unhappy. Sooner or later we start to wonder: is this really everything in life? But we feel devastated not because of the lack of happiness, but lack of the meaning. What are some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life? These four components make our life meaningful.
1. Belonging to the group To Belong Is to Matter. Feeling of belonging appears in relations where you are appreciated for your treats of character, for what you are, and also where you appreciate others. Some groups (sects, gangs) also give you a feeling of belonging, but it is not the right one. In them you are only valued for what you believe in, who you hate, and not for what you really are. Real belonging is tangible where there is love and respect. And this is always a choice: we can nurture this feeling in relationships with people. But often we unconsciously devalue our surrounding. We pass by acquaintances, not paying attention to them. We look at the phone when someone talks to us. Such small things make you feel invisible and unworthy.
2. Goals The goal is less about what you want, and more about what you give to others. For example, hospital attendants in the hospital tell that their goal is to help sick people. Many parents say that their goal is to raise children. The main thing for life in accordance with the goal is to use your strengths to help others. Of course, for most people it is work. It is at work that we make some contribution to the common goal and feel ourselves important. Still, the goal and the work are not the same. The goal can be any reason that makes you live and moves you forward.
3. Connection to something big These are the rare moments when you rise above the bustle of everyday life and go beyond your own ego. Someone experiences this sensation when enjoying art, someone - during the church service, someone, for example writers, - in the process of creating a piece of art. This experience changes a person. During one study, participants were asked to look at the 60-meter- long eucalyptus trees for a minute. After that, participants felt less obsessed with themselves, more responsive when others needed help.
4. Self-image Structuring the events of your life into a coherent story helps to understand how you became who you are now. But we often do not realize that we are the authors of our history and can change the way we tell it. Our life is not just a list of accomplished facts. Based on them, we can edit, interpret and retell our history.
Think about your life: how certain events have affected you, what you lost, what you got. Of course, it's impossible to change the image of yourself in one day, it can take years. It can be painful and hard. But if you accept these painful memories, you will learn a lesson from them and take a step towards a meaningful life.