The Myth Of Happiness

Image 4I’ve often wondered, as have many, if the purpose of life is to be happy. Our society touts happiness like a religion. Books, blogs and seminars on the subject abound. But when we think about, look back upon, our lives, is happiness all we remember? The short answer is no. And why? Because it is through our pain and suffering that we often grow, and perhaps heal.


David Brooks wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times last Tuesday on happiness and suffering. The gist of which, in my opinion, is the following: Happiness is happiness, it’s easy, and lovely but it doesn’t push the limits of who we are. It doesn’t make us look at ourselves with new eyes because we manage to live through what we weren’t sure we could.


What pushes us to know the parts of ourselves yet untested? What are our capabilities and limitations?  David Brooks writes: “Suffering drags you deeper into yourself…The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashed through what they thought was the bottom floor of their personality, revealing an area below, and then it smashes through that floor revealing another area.”

Makes happiness sound a bit vapid, yes? The way I see it is; pain is the prod that makes us into the people we can be, and happiness is the respite we receive for that hard work.



About wendykarasin

I am complicated and seeking - joy and sorrow, country and city, competition and cooperation. After behavior of a gregarious nature, I require down time to refuel. My loves are children, family, friends, reading, writing, blogging, fitness, and health. I feel most alive when I stay true to my core values. Beauty makes me happy, pain helps me grow.
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10 Responses to The Myth Of Happiness

  1. Growth comes through adversity, a hard and often unpalatable truth. Smooth sailing, as you pointed out, is a respite. When times get tough, it’s important to keep our perspective, to remember that nothing is forever. Even happiness. I’ve come to think that our purpose in being here is to love–ourselves and others.

  2. Love that last sentence!!

  3. shercb says:

    Really interesting blog, made me challenge my perspective on “the hard times”. Thank you for posting!

  4. wendykarasin says:

    It’s a beautiful thing – and I mean that most sincerely, when we find words we resonate with!

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