“Most people are afraid to be happy.” The first time I read this sentence, I thought it was a lot of nonsense: “But who the hell is afraid to be happy? Everyone, if given the chance, would choose happiness.”
Over the years I have come to understand its meaning, and now I would like to share it with you because it is one of those teachings that can really change the face of our lives and consequently of society.
If you are unhappy you will do harm
Being happy, unfortunately, is a choice. I say unfortunately because like all choices it involves a certain amount of selfishness. In fact, almost always to find happiness you need to put in place a series of changes that consist in putting yourself before others. In fact, it is easier for you to be happy if you start saying no to certain people and yes to a few, if you choose to use your time for your own projects (not those of others), if you stop giving importance to the words of others or at least weigh them and evaluate them carefully, and if you do not spend your money to please others.
There is selfishness in all of this, there is no doubt, because you focus mainly on your own needs.
The point is that people often do not have the courage to take such strong positions, to cut ties with those who are toxic to them, to take time for themselves and go against the grain. They are afraid to do so because they fear the social consequences of their choices. We can then correctly speak of “fear of being happy,” which therefore does not mean fear of happiness, but fear of what happiness entails.
Then we can take it a step further and figure out how to find this courage, and, as is often the case, all we need to do is to reverse our view, that is, to look at it from the unseen point of view. Instead of focusing on what “being happy” entails, let us try to focus on the consequences of being perpetually unhappy.
An unhappy person can only fail in every aspect of his or her life. No one wants to love someone perpetually unhappy, pessimistic and dissatisfied, because negativity also drags the other person into suffering. But love is the basis of any relationship, even those between mother and child, between co-workers or friends. Is it pleasant to hang out with those who are always sad? Is it productive to work with those who are perpetually unmotivated? Can an unhappy parent be a good parent? Of course not, so although happiness is a choice it is in fact a forced choice. The alternative does not exist, or rather, it does exist but it consists of perpetual slavery. Yes because from the moment you are unhappy you will need society to ease your pain, society that will provide you with a whole range of objects and services with which to distract yourself and not think about how bad you are hurting. Only being in society means giving up the selfishness that leads to happiness, and here the circle closes and the cage also.
Being unhappy then can only lead us to failure, both the failure of our personal projects and in terms of what good we can do for others. And perhaps this is the real selfishness, that is, to do nothing to be happy, because as an unhappy person you will only do harm. This is how we find the courage to make choices against the grain: by realizing that it is our unhappiness that makes society the horrible place we are forced to be. If we learn to be happy we will turn this hell into the paradise we all seek.