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I don't want to be happy.

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EllieKMAS posted 2/14/2020 11:41 AM

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and we are both in these kind of weird 'in between' places in our lives right now. She is working towards changing things for herself but is struggling with accepting having to slow down progress for practicality. And I am struggling with just feeling fucking stuck. I am broke as fuck because I'm still adjusting to being just me (tho some bills have def decreased which is good), and tho there are things I would like to do, I just can't yet financially. Le sigh - adulting is bullshit. We were talking about being happy. And mentally I kind of landed on something that I have been journaling about and I think it is making sense to me. So many people place such value on that concept of 'happy'. To me? Happy is bullshit.

If you are an average human living an average life, you might have 30ish truly happy days in your entire life. The day you... graduate college. Get married. Have a child. Have a grandchild. Those days where you really, truly, are happy with no caveats. They are few and far between. And as such they are very precious.

But if you spend your entire life thinking all the days are going to be like those big banner 'happy' days, then IMHO, you're setting yourself up for constant disappointment. Setting yourself up to be the kind of person who is on that constant search for the 'next' thing to fill that disappointment. I just divorced one of those... and I do believe that will be his life. And it will be a sad long series of thinking he found the 'thing' finally only to realize he didn't. Again.

Happiness, by and large, is instagram. It is filters and manipulation. It is the pretty picture the outside world sees that so often hides a very different reality. I have had enough of fake.

I don't want to be happy. I want to be content. I want that deep down in your soul, calm, unshakable peace that comes from being content with yourself and your life. Happiness is instagram - anyone can be 'pretty' with all those filters. Content is polaroid - it takes a real person to be pretty when those filters aren't there to help.

To me, content is much more authentic and much more within reach. Contentment for me is quiet and calm - it's having enough money to pay the bills, having a nice meal, helping a friend. Yes those huge happy days are great, don't get me wrong, but I will live very gratefully in my quiet contentment in between.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 2/14/2020 11:55 AM

Interesting as I think of happiness as nothing like you described. I had a lot of happy days - they weren't big ticket marquis days like you talk about (college graduations, weddings, etc) as although my wedding was a great day, the best day of my life was what would otherwise be considered ordinary (and I have so many degrees that college graduations are like a semi-annual event in my life hehe). I was driving back from dropping off my then long term boyfriend at the airport. He was a pilot so it happened a few times a week, and when I would drop him off he would be gone at least overnight, but often two or three...so I was on the way home to our house and it was still dark out so it was early...and I HATE getting up early and I don't particularly like being home alone (I watched too many scary movies in my youth) so normally I would be anything but happy...

But it struck me, at that moment - I can remember the exit signs on the highway - I was doing nothing of any real significance but I remember it distinctly like it just happened. This wave of happiness washed over me and I thought to myself "enjoy this TIME as it is just so great." I was looking for work, waiting to hear if I was accepted into the grad school of my choice, I had moved to the other side of the world and was just beginning to make friends, and really get to know my surrounds, and had really "settled in." I didn't have a lot of money and a lot of what was going on in my life at that time would have stressed me out, but instead I was really happy - happy with where I was, who I was with, the possibilities that I had in front of me...and it lasted - it lasted a long time.

I've been "content" before - I would say I was content right before I met my WH - school was done, I was making great money, having really fantastic career success, had a really nice house that I was paying for myself. I was content, but not particularly happy. I wasn't depressed or miserable or thinking about my circumstances as anything but good, but every day seemed the same and I did spend a lot of my time alone. I had days of happiness (like when I won a very big ticket item) but it wasn't an overarching feeling daily. I was content but not particularly happy or unhappy - I just was. Not anything like that year I spent when I was living with my pilot-ex. Not happy like when I traveled for 3 months with my Dad though New Zealand and the South Pacific on a legitimate shoe-string budget. Not happy like I was when I moved here to start a life together with my WH. Not happy like I was when I was in law school, despite all of the stresses and worries about graduating and finding a job and passing the bar.

To me happy surpasses content by a mile, and maybe I'm lucky that I've had a lot of content AND happy regular days...and I'm greedy because I want that back.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:59 AM, February 14th (Friday)]

Dragonfly123 posted 2/14/2020 12:12 PM

Argh ‘happy’, it’s used so much as a justification for an affair. ‘I deserve to be happy’. My WHs AP used it ALL THE TIME ‘you’re happy with me’ ‘we deserve happiness’, it was part of her constant verbal arsenal to win her prize.

I think for many BS it becomes a trigger word.

I’ve had to fight against linking my personal quest for happiness, against its link in my head now to selfishness and entitlement.

TBH my happiness is intrinsically linked to those I love my family and my friends. I gain happiness from watching my children laugh or spending time with my family. I’ve reclaimed the word and it’s perfect. It’s more than contentment and we all deserve that.

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 12:13 PM, February 14th (Friday)]

ShatteredSakura posted 2/14/2020 12:13 PM

I 100% agree with this. In fact before you got to the part contentment I was thinking "being content is better than happiness".

I feel sad for people who are not satisfied with contentment. Or also people who think being comfortable in a relationship means it's stale or boring.

To be honest, I feel like the last time I truly felt happy without any caveats and without any tarnishing was July 4, 2009. And it isn't even rose colored glasses, I remember at the time I recognized how happy I felt.

It was a perfect day. No clouds, completely blue sky, perfect temperature not too hot or humid. My parents and I BBQed and spent the afternoon outside. Our cats at the time were enjoying themselves, prowling around on the brick patio and then enjoying some chicken. I have some nice photos of them.

The next year I graduated college which also is a good memory, especially since everyone was still alive and healthy. Days later my mom was diagnosed with cancer (survived but with life altering effects). My grandmother started developing alzheimers. Both cats passed away within a year of each other.

Then I met WW. The happy memories aren't as strong as they once we're or not like that July 4th. Then came the affair, another beloved pet passed, then my grandfather passed, now my grandmother is getting close to the end. My mom's health is also diminishing.

Not saying I didn't have happy memories in the last 10 years, but more often than not it was contentment (at least before the affair). July 4th, 2009 was just a perfect day, and I'm not sure I'll see another one of those days for a long time.

[This message edited by ShatteredSakura at 12:38 PM, February 14th (Friday)]

crazyblindsided posted 2/14/2020 12:17 PM

I want that deep down in your soul, calm, unshakable peace that comes from being content with yourself and your life.

This resonated with me. It is what I am striving for contentment. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder after D-Day 2 so it is a struggle for me, but contentment would be nice

ShatteredSakura posted 2/14/2020 12:18 PM

Argh ‘happy’, it’s used so much as a justification for an affair. ‘I deserve to be happy’. My WHs AP used it ALL THE TIME ‘you’re happy with me’ ‘we deserve happiness’, it was part of her constant verbal arsenal to win her prize.

I think for many BS it becomes a trigger word.

Oh yes, WW likes to use the phrase a lot. She also wants "me" to be happy too, you see.

TBH my happiness is intrinsically linked to those I love my family and my friends. I gain happiness from watching my children laugh or spending time with my family. It’s more than contentment and we all deserve that.

Me too as may be evident in my previous post. A reason why I feel like I won't have another July 4th like that is because my family is starting to die off and I do not have children yet. Enjoying the next generation growing up I think helps tempers the loss of losing the previous.

EllieKMAS posted 2/14/2020 12:20 PM

Just clarifying that I am not saying I have never been happy - I have had a handful of those glorious days where ALL is right with the world. Maybe... 8 or so? And they are such precious gifts when they come. Which is why all of them are so memorable in my head as I type this.

EllieKMAS posted 2/14/2020 12:30 PM

To me happy surpasses content by a mile, and maybe I'm lucky that I've had a lot of content AND happy regular days...and I'm greedy because I want that back.
TISL, what's that saying... Shoot for the moon so even if you miss you will land amongst the stars? I am glad that you have had a lot of both! I just think that my definition of it is different than yours is all. And no, you are not greedy for wanting them!!

Argh ‘happy’, it’s used so much as a justification for an affair. ‘I deserve to be happy’. My WHs AP used it ALL THE TIME ‘you’re happy with me’ ‘we deserve happiness’, it was part of her constant verbal arsenal to win her prize.
Yeah, mine too. Which is part of my cat-like hissyness at the word. But honestly lately I have been trying to really define things in my life. Happy. Sad. Fulfilled. Etc. Things have been so up in the air for so long - laying down some definition helps me to mentally put a foundation down. A foundation that I am working on for MY future. And the happy thing... Happy is such a loose concept. I have seen 'happy'. And I have seen 'content'. And for me, I for sure sure know which one I would rather have you know?

To be honest, I feel like the last time I truly felt happy without any caveats and without any tarnishing was July 4, 2009. And it isn't even rose colored glasses, I remember at the time I recognized how happy I felt.
Yes sakura! This is how I feel too. So ironic, but I feel like I have those days that I can remember the fucking DATE that I felt that like all the universe aligned just for me - like Hdays, if you will. And I know for me, they are just so rare. Wonderful and welcome, but rare.

StillLivin posted 2/14/2020 12:52 PM

Everyone's truth is different. For me, I'm pretty much happy every day now sans Xhole.
I wake up in a great mood, even those late night homework sessions where I know I'm only going to get 4 hours of sleep. My fur babies get all excited and cuddle me as soon as they sense I'm awake. Makes me happy, and loved.
I enjoy my classes, well learning anyway, hate chemistry. I get super happy with a great cup of coffee.
I've been raped, beaten, emotionally abused as a child. Not living that life every day is reason enough for joy. I have zero hatred or bitterness towards X, but I just dont like him because he's an awful individual. In the military I've been shot at, slept on the ground in the rain at sub 55 degree weather with only a nasty MRE to eat, I've ran for the bunkers so many times I've lost count because a scud was incoming, attacked in a hmmwv, and so on and so on. I'm retired now and my life isn't in danger. So happy not to risk life and limb daily.
I'm broke as hell barely able to afford food some months, but I have a quiet-calm-pleased to be alive sort of happy. Some days I'm happier than others, like when my kid got married and Christmas day. Some day I'm just happy for the beautiful weather and mybfur babies. And, yes, some days, I'm only content, but I have real moments of happy between just content.
I believe some people dont know how to be happy, not dont want to be happy. Jmho.
ETA there have been times in my life when I have been unhappy, but it was usually because something bad or sad were going on in my life.

[This message edited by StillLivin at 1:05 PM, February 14th (Friday)]

PSTI posted 2/14/2020 13:02 PM

Hmm. I see where you're going with that. My first reaction is to disagree with you, but I think I believe something similar, just stated a different way.

I do believe that most of life is lived in the spaces in between the ups and downs. The vast majority of days will be like that.

But where I differ from you is that I believe that we can find happiness in those days. Mindfulness has taught me to seek happiness in the little moments, because they become the big moments. So something as small as a stranger complimenting my outfit or my husband shoveling the walk for me when it's my job, or my son making me a craft- those things all make me happy. I want to spend as much time experiencing those feelings as I can, and devote less energy to the negative ones.

Most days, I am happy. Some days I can't quite get there, but I try. I don't believe that unexamined is happy- I think happy mostly comes from that examination. It's not a feeling, it's a choice.

How far apart are we?

DragnHeart posted 2/14/2020 13:14 PM

I'm really really happy I found a juvenile water monitor.

I'm not so happy that hes skiddish, has never been properly handled and BITES! (Wh thought he'd try handling him without gloves.....my husband bleeds good lol).

Most people wouldn't be happy with this animal but I am even though he bites. just means I have my work cut out for me taking him down before he gets six feet long.

Happiness is individual I guess

EllieKMAS posted 2/14/2020 13:18 PM

Most days, I am happy. Some days I can't quite get there, but I try. I don't believe that unexamined is happy- I think happy mostly comes from that examination. It's not a feeling, it's a choice.

How far apart are we?


Take out happy and put in the word content and that's spot on for me. I just feel like so many people waste so much time and energy chasing that 'happy' high that they forget to be content with all the hundreds and thousands of small good graces that are a part of life. For me, like I said, happy is those big days. The days where you hear "The Whole World Smiles With You" on a loop in your head all day. I HAVE had some of those days in my life. and they are fucking amazing. Gifts from the universe.

But more days than not it is being content and finding joy in all those little things that make up my life - my outfit makes me feel cute, I had a good eyelash day (boys you won't get that one), I managed to catch the green lights that I never do on my way to work, someone complimented me, I was able to do a random act of kindness... I am not a ray of sunshine kind of person. I am very realistic that some days feel like the universe just wants to shit all over you. But for me, I always try to find those little things and to be thankful for them. And to recognize that despite everything, I am really pretty damn blessed. THAT to me, is contentment. I don't always land on it, but I do aim for it every day.

PSTI posted 2/14/2020 13:21 PM

Sounds like a language issue with the same sentiment, then.

I wish you content, Ellie. And I wish me happy because using that word contributes to my happy :)

BluesPower posted 2/14/2020 13:25 PM

I used to think that being content was being happy.

I kind of still feel that way. But I also see it different these days, and the reason for that is I am actually happy for maybe the first time in my life.

It is not euphoric every single day, but it is def happy. All three of my kids are healthy happy, and being successful.

Actually Really successful. So that makes me happy and content.

I over all am happy. My Fiancé is wonderful, our relationship is wonderful, life is just really good. The only reason I don't want to get out of bed is because I am holding her with her warm soft body on mine. That is heaven. And going to work from that perspective suck but even work is ok.

I used to never say I was happy, I felt like it would jinx it, and I am a little scared to say it now.

But if I am honest, I am happy overall.

I have never been happy I don't think. Or maybe I was not mature enough to appreciate it. But I am older now, and while life is not perfect what is.

Overall, it is really happy.

undertherug posted 2/14/2020 13:48 PM

To me, "happy" is a transient thing. I prefer contentment any day. In the words of my favorite philosopher, Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove), "If you want any one thing too badly, it's likely to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live is to learn to like all the little everyday things." Hard words to live by, though.

tinlizzie posted 2/14/2020 13:55 PM

"If you want any one thing too badly, it's likely to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live is to learn to like all the little everyday things."

This totally. Whenever I've looked forward to almost anything in life I end up disappointed. Reality never measures up to anticipation. What I've recently started to notice is that I'll just find myself happy when I would least expect it. I can be in a bad mood on a long drive and see a beautiful sunset and it will totally change my frame of mind. Random texts from my kids does the same for me frequently.

secondtime posted 2/14/2020 14:08 PM

I don't think I'm meant to be have happiness and be content.

I still have gratitude, though. I mean, I can recognize that I've still had a "good" life...in that I've always been employed, never known real financial hardships, and my husband, myself and my four kids are healthy.

Many of the milestones mentioned...most of them weren't happy days. Sure, moments of happiness..But not truly happy days.

cocoplus5nuts posted 2/14/2020 14:32 PM

I don't strive for happy. I am content. I have everything I need. I appreciate what I have. I don't dwell on what I don't have. I'm not searching or waiting for that next big thing. I'm enjoying sitting on my couch with my son, eating hummus and sugar snap peas, and reading and posting on here. That's all I need right now.

TheLostOne2020 posted 2/14/2020 14:37 PM

I've always said, as my motto:

This universe is an uncaring and amoral place. It owes you nothing and you owe it nothing. If you can wrest happiness from it, at any point, then cherish it. Revel in that happiness.


That said, Dragonfly123 hits close to what my WW has said:

Argh ‘happy’, it’s used so much as a justification for an affair. ‘I deserve to be happy’. My WHs AP used it ALL THE TIME ‘you’re happy with me’ ‘we deserve happiness’, it was part of her constant verbal arsenal to win her prize.


If your happiness entails someone else's legitimate misery, then no, you aren't justified - in fact, you are a horrible person.

Justsomelady posted 2/14/2020 14:41 PM

Agreed.

Meaning and purpose and meaningful love(evidenced in actions) = superior.

Happiness - a fleeting feeling that is nice but warps your character is it is your goal. It is a nice side effect.

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 2:41 PM, February 14th (Friday)]

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