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Self Acceptance Is The Key To Happiness

798 words - 3 pages

When we are young children, we are introduced to the concept of "living happily ever after". This is a fairy-tale emotional state of absolute happiness, where nothing really happens, and nothing even seems to matter. It is a state of feeling good all the time. In fairy tales, this feeling is usually found in fulfilling marriages, royal castles, singing birds and laughing children. In real life, an even-keeled mood is more psychologically healthy than a mood in which you frequently achieve great heights of happiness. Furthermore, when you ask people what makes their lives worth living, they rarely mention their mood. They are more likely to talk about what they find meaningful, such as their work or relationships. Research suggests that if you focus too much on trying to feel good all the time, you’ll actually undermine your ability to ever feel good because no amount of feeling good will be satisfying to you. If feeling good all the time were the only requirement for happiness, then a person who uses cocaine every day would be extremely happy. In our endless struggle for more money, more love and more security, we have forgotten the most fundamental fact: happiness is not caused by possessions or social positions, and can in fact be experienced in any daily activity. We have made happiness a utopia: expensive, complicated, and unreachable.

Throughout history, philosophers and scientists of various kinds have been trying to define happiness, identify its causes and the obstacles to reaching it. According to Jon Gertner, psychologist Gilbert and economist Loewenstein have succeeded in pointing out several reasons why people are unhappy (pp: 444-6). It is important to note that according to Gilbert, it is not that people cannot get what they want, but that most of the time; they can’t name what would make them happy. He also stated that people usually expect change, whether it is good or bad, major or minor, to have a greater impact on their lives than it actually does. Giving too much importance to upcoming events and future possessions, they rely on them to make their lives better, while studies and statistics clearly show that we usually “overestimate the intensity and duration of our emotional reactions” (Gertner, 447). As Gilbert says, a newly bought computer, car, or house, will very quickly lose its magic and fail in making its possessor...

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