“Happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination.”
May 23, 2012 by
Categories: Emotions

“I’ve been thinking about this whole being happy thing, and I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination. We’re always thinking that someday we’ll be happy; we’ll get that car or that job or that person in our lives that’ll fix everything. But happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination. It’s like being tired or hungry, it’s not permanent. It comes and goes, and that’s okay. And I feel like if people thought of it that way, they’d find happiness more often.”

This quote perfectly captures how I’ve been feeling about happiness lately. Or about all emotions, really.  I am finding that when I don’t place happiness on a pedestal- the end all be all of emotions– I achieve it much more easily. Instead of chasing after it, it finds me, mostly in unexpected ways.

There are times when all my senses effortlessly  join together to make a perfect moment; to me it feels like the sunny warmth on your skin that has you radiating from the inside out. I feel a contagious glow and like I am on top of the world. I can look back on the past year and recall a few of these times and most were not felt in extraordinary circumstances.

It could have been a quiet happiness, like when you resonate with a song, or stroll through a garden and are overcome

Ultimate peace in this garden.

with peace. Or it could be a loud happiness, like the feeling you get when you’re dancing and are utterly free.  But the truth is, they all tend to be fleeting moments, hours, or days.

I found this truth (one that I abide by, but that you may not) difficult to absorb. It felt crushing. I started to tread cautiously on my happy moments, anxiously waiting for it to be snatched away from me. I was no longer fully present, and that bothered me. But as I started to come to terms with it, it became a means of liberation.

After all, if I continually strive to be happy, I will no doubt be faced with a lot of disappointment when I cannot hold on to that feeling. But if I accept that happiness (just like sadness) is a mood and not a destination, I no longer need to be shackled by societal expectations to “be happy” all the time.

I had come to learn to paste a smile on my face, even when I was sad. Without realizing it, I was adding to the false pretense that if you weren’t happy, you weren’t grateful enough or something was wrong. But I was sending the wrong message to myself and to others.

My true self isn’t always happy.  Like everyone else, I experience a range of emotions. As for sadness, the less I am scared of it or define it as negative, the more I come to terms that it is not a permanent feeling either. I’ve been afraid to fall into sadness, scared of it’s unknown depth. Scared of not being able to come back. But so far, just like happiness, it has come and gone. And I find that the more struggle I’ve endured, the more depth I have in regards to other emotions.

So, instead of trying to find happiness and despairing that it’s not a continual emotion, I strive to be content. To accept that the emotions with me on my journey are ever changing, and that is okay. Not one emotion is better than the other– they are all equal and necessary to fully experiencing life.

Don’t force yourself to be happy. The more you try to control how you feel, the more that feeling controls you. Just… be. And when the sun shines, let is shine. What are your thoughts on happiness?

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2 Thoughts About “Happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination.”

  • Kristyn
    May 23, 2012 at 11:34 am Reply

    It sometimes feels “wrong” to be okay with not being happy all of the time. It is almost an expectation that we be happy people because of all of the people/stuff/opportunities that we are surrounded with. I think, though, that we are able to appreciate the happy moments much more when we have accepted/allowed ourselves to feel everything else. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

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