Home Lifestyle Unhappy seekers: One generation’s inability to be happy.

Unhappy seekers: One generation’s inability to be happy.

by Roberta

To want, to have, to need. Our generation risks becoming an unhappy one because we can’t discern the difference.

It’s a sad little world we live in. Or do we make it sad? It’s hard to tell the difference when you’re spinning the same wheel over and over. Call this post a little confession of sorts. I too am part of this sad reality.

So here it is. The Confession: My resolutions from month to month nearly always revolve around material things I want to have. Nothing makes me happier (at least on the outset) than scratching off one more item from my To-Buy list.. for exactly a couple of hours. Then I’m scanning the rest of my list. I guess some of you would argue that it’s quite normal and you’d be right. But does that mean it’s good? Sometimes I catch myself feeling I am unable to close the yawning chasm between what I have and what I want. And that is a constant source of inner frustration. Why?

1. We are the Consumeristic Generation. 

It’s a vicious circle, a horrible habit of buying to consume and then dispose, safe in the knowledge that we can get whatever it is off the shelf again. We’re bombarded by the media, a veritable selling machine, which subtly makes you feel that much inferior if you don’t have the wares it’s selling. When everything, literally everything – from a new pair of shoes, to a new nose – is so easily attainable, it’s no wonder we’re always craving for something more, something different. We want newer models, vintage models, straighter hair, curlier hair. We want a thinner waist, toned legs, a flashier watch and a bigger car. We’d have it all, if we could. And even then, we probably wouldn’t be happy because there is always a new fad or a new discovery.

Curiously though, a recent poll by the Marist Institute of Public Opinion proves the existence of a happiness tipping point: beyond a specific financial earning, you bring home no further overall satisfaction. If you had to plot happiness on a graph to show the relationship between what we buy and how we feel, based on how much we earn, we would see a waning curve tending towards indifference. The more money we earn it seems, the more placid we become – and thus yearn for something else to make us happier. Just so, a vicious circle. Which leads us to the next argument.

2. We treat emotions like they were last season’s collections.

This is something far, far more dangerous than the desire to own that little black dress in the window. We have become consumers of emotions, to the point where we treat love, respect and tolerance like an accessory – we flaunt it when it’s novel. When we become used to it, we shove it at the back of the drawer, to be worn occasionally. Just for the sake of it. And there is nothing scarier than the feeling that you’re that piece of beautiful accessory on a shelf. Unappreciated and taken for granted. Or in reverse roles, to realise you treat people like they were objects; you become blind to them. Like that statue you pass by every morning on your way out.

3. We want to undo what has been done.

Something inside us clicks only when that which is irreplaceable, is lost. That is when we realise that not everything can be re-bought, not everything is disposable. When someone dear is lost to us, when a place we once loved is demolished, it is then that we realise it had been the source of our happiness all along, and we were stupid enough to be busy looking elsewhere. We want to undo the past but we can’t, and we’re back to square one: unhappy and unsatisfied. Our fault lies in the fact that we treasure objects, not moments. We’re more excited by the launch of a new product than by the sight of the person we love. Our appreciation is flighty at best because we’re not excited by what’s around the whole time. It’s the desire of that which we don’t own, rather than the pleasure of what we do, that keeps us going.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to strive towards obtaining new goals, but never at the expense of losing sight of what you already have. And that is our failure.

A Resolution.

To have, and not to have at the same time. To seek, never to find. When was the last time I turned my back on what I want and had a good look at what I already have? When was the last time I looked around me and realised that all I have could be taken away in a matter of seconds?

Life is not unjust. Life just IS. And if we can’t realise that the constant perusal of an illusory happiness is what ultimately makes us unhappy, then we are the ones being unfair. We need to stop asking ourselves what we want and ask ourselves what we NEED. Once we manage to replace one question with another, we will find happiness. Because, more often than not, we find that what we need is right there, under our very eyes.

Stop seeing things as they could be. See them as they are. Let’s not become a generation of unhappy seekers. Let’s embrace what is already ours to hold and let the rest take care of itself.

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Mia May 13, 2015 - 8:57 pm

Really great article!!

To add to your points, I also think that one of the issues impacting on our happiness is social media and the internet in general. The paradox of the internet is that although we are connected to everything on a global scale, it is has the possibility to make us more lonely than ever before.

When everything is becoming increasingly connected, everywhere, and it will respond to individual wants and likes and predict interests and weaknesses – like a customised human existence – it is bound to have psychological consequences. I believe that advancements in technology can create a monster; generations of egomaniacs only focused on what they want and what they like because the digital world bows at their feet and obeys their every little demand.

It can be hard to stay grounded and appreciate what we have when the lines between reality and virtual become increasingly blurred and instant gratification occurs at the swipe of a finger 😉

Roberta Genovese May 13, 2015 - 10:10 pm

Beautifully said. We should have co-authored this! .. wait .. that just gave me an idea 😉


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