´ The Disappointment of Happiness -
January 18, 2015

The whole point you engage in exercises like gratitude journalling, listing three good things or committing planned acts of kindness is that you want to feel happier. Sometimes that works but what if it does not?

It is of course always possible that a particular exercise is just not a good fit but more often than not the answer can be found in the definition of the emotion of disappointment: sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations (Merriam Webster Dictionary). If we start anything thinking ‘this will make me happy. This has to make me happy, why don’t I feel happy yet!?’ the feeling of happiness will be just beyond our grasp. We are in such moments too me-focused to allow the feeling of happiness.

So in any given moment being concerned about our own happiness takes us out of the actual experience, which in term blocks happiness. So while it’s true that we have a certain amount of control over our thoughts, it’s much more difficult to control how we feel in any given moment, because that process happens often too fast to be aware of it.

However we still can make a long-term decision to become happier. This doesn’t guarantee happiness in any particular moment.  Taken together chances are that if we practice gratitude, value the relationships we have and go out of our way to strengthen them, become aware of more and more moments and let our strengths guide more of our decisions and how we view other people we can become truly happier.


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