A new study finds searching for happiness actually causes people to feel lonelier.
Turns out happiness shouldn't be our sole pursuit in life. A recent study from the University of Denver and University of California, Berkeley discovered that embarking on the elusive happiness quest actually causes people to feel lonelier. Basically, in order to be happy, we have to want it less.
Speaking as a twenty-something, I didn't need the study to tell me that. I'm living proof that desperately searching for things to bring me happiness only results in epic failure. Take my long distance relationship, for example. After graduating college together last May, he moved to Virginia to take a teaching job and I moved to New York City in pursuit of a career in publishing (which also was part of my quest for happiness). We've been doing the LDR thing for about 10 months now, and it's been damn hard.
In the past few months, I often found myself thinking that if we were closer, things would be so much easier. Our relationship would be better. We would simply be happier. I became fixated with the idea of what was going to happen in the future in order to make us happy again, so much so that it started to drive a wedge between us.
It wasn't until we had "the talk" about our future last week that I finally realized I needed to let go of the idea of relationship happiness — for now at least.
I'm giving up on feeling completely happy and at peace with our relationship because as long as we are apart, I know we won't be. I also know that we need to be apart right now, and that's just how it is. So, I'm turning the focus. I'm shifting the priority from happiness to working on our relationship in the state that it's in now. Because in the end, I'd rather have someone next to me at the end of the day than have no one with whom I can share my happiness.
So maybe it's not about wanting happiness. Maybe it's about creating that happiness with the things we have, rather than the things we want. Here's to tricking happiness, and hoping we come out on top this time.
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