That’s a heck of a title for a blog that focuses on the positive. Let me explain why I should pose such a question.

Events in life force us to react. Our reactions both define us and betray us. This isn’t such a bad thing. It makes sense that anyone with a combative disposition might react to adversity with anger. Or somebody who is ordinarily timid may flee. We are predefined a certain way and respond accordingly. But how would you measure your reaction to a situation if your response was unable to change? Surely it’s necessary sometimes to step away from our comfort zone and react in a way that may be more appropriate.

How might we feel if, when faced with a challenge, we took a different approach – as if the adversary were there to be mocked.

Strength and Control

The first words that spring to mind here are Strength and Control.

We all feel a great sense of balance and peace when we’re in control of a situation. Control of our emotions and our physical wellbeing leads to great things; not least an increase in self esteem. But at what cost? What must we sacrifice to attain such a state?

If in our pursuit of control and emotional strength we are losing sight of our true nature, how genuine is our happiness?

It seems to me that the ‘answer’ to life and all that it throws at us is this magical thing called happiness. We’ll do anything to maintain it and often tread on anything that stands in its way.

But why?

Why must we be so obsessed with this head rush of being in a ‘happy’ state? In fact, what is happiness?

Can you honestly define happiness without resorting to providing an example of what makes you happy?

In many respects I think the pursuit of this thing we call happiness is misleading; a distraction.

Is our happiness under attack?

We’re surrounded by other people’s happiness via social media. It’s in our faces 24/7. There’s no avoiding the filtered ecstasy that our acquaintances spray over Facebook. When you think that you’re in a happy state somebody else comes along and trumps it.

The pursuit of happiness is under attack. So perhaps it’s the wrong pursuit. But what’s the alternative? Or is it that our defences should improve?

I like to think that both are relevant. On the one hand we could certainly benefit from adjusting our expectations from life’s obstacles. On the other hand a little resilience goes a long way.

As I alluded to previously happiness is, for me, an abstract concept. It doesn’t lend itself to reasonable explanation since it is so subjective. Your happiness and my happiness may have little in common. So is the pursuit of happiness a pointless endeavour? Should we focus our efforts elsewhere such that the net result is that we become ‘happy’ or at peace?

When you view something that would normally upset or even offend you, don’t think ‘Oh geez, there goes my happiness’, instead think ‘how important is that to me, really?’

In many cases you may be surprised to learn that something is just not important. Some things that we encounter are genuinely upsetting and simply brushing them to one side is inappropriate. But many things really don’t matter. Not in the wider picture.

As I’ve written this post I realise that it is something of a brain dump. It is, in some respects, a knee-jerk reaction to the seasonal merriment that floods Facebook and in another respect a direct reflection of my general shift in attitude that has been largely effected by social media.

Attaining balance

There is a strong case for balance. A balance that allows us to experience the world and that of our friends and family with a sense of peace. A balance that allows us to filter out the ‘unnecessary’. A balance that affords us some control over our inner emotion – our core sense of wellbeing. A balance that allows us to remain focused on loved ones and those whom we hold dear.

A persistent demand for and pursuit of ‘happiness’ is a damaging illusion to me.

A quest for balance is a far better use of my energy.