Do not Try to be Happy

I was listening to a lecture given by Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist, and he was talking about how society is wrongfully aiming for a “Happy Life”. Happiness should not be your end goal. Peterson talks about how this goal oversimplifies life. It makes things much to black and white. There is much more to life than the simple axis of happy and unhappy.

There are times when being happy is actually the wrong choice, and he explains how it can actually make things worse. In certain moments, you have to feel pain, sorrow, and not joyous, in order for you to survive or resolve the issue.

The image that I very much agree with that he presented was the distinction he made to pursuing a life of happiness, and pursuing a life of fullness in terms of emotions/experiences. He said it was like the difference between elevator music and one of Beethoven’s symphonies.

One should not aspire to be happy, one should aspire to experience all emotions with clarity, and try to achieve a mastery over one’s self and life itself. Do not run away from fear or sadness. Master them. They are all key components into what it means to be human. There are no such things as good or bad emotions. They are all part of you. And to reject yourself, to limit yourself, means to limit your life. If you ever wonder what was missing, it might have been you purposefully limiting yourself, without even knowing it.

Take off the chains that you put on, and live free. Be your own master.

It’s that simple,

-Sam

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