Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Opposite Path To Happiness

It’s a known fact that the increase in modern comforts has done little to raise our mood. Once our basic needs are met, our happiness doesn’t really budge. 

No matter what doohicky we buy, no matter the raise we get, and no matter how many self-help books we read, our happiness acts like a spoilt child.

It doesn’t really care.

Does that mean we’re doing something wrong? It’s possible. But considering we’ve been collectively chasing happiness for thousands of years, the problem might lie elsewhere.

Perhaps the idea of chasing happiness is fruitless to begin with. 

After all, our genes probably don’t have a stake in our temperament unless it’s getting in the way of making babies.

It could also be our definition of happiness that stops us from attaining it. Many of us feel that happiness is the opposite of everything negative. So if we’re feeling anxious, sad or gloomy, we reason that we’re unhappy.

While that reasoning may feel right. It doesn’t quite fit when you think it over. 

Because if pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin, you obviously can’t have one without the other. 

When you follow this line of thought, happiness doesn’t come from eliminating the vile and icky from your life, but in giving the unpleasant the room to be. 

Stoics, Buddhists, and modern-day spiritual teachers all share a similar view: stop the need to scrub away negativity and you’ll feel fine. Alright, you’ll feel a little uncomfortable. But that’s generally as bad as it gets.

Is a lasting state of high octane happiness all you’re after? Then you’re probably headed for trouble.

So the next time you’re down in the dumps, try following the opposite path to happiness. 

Don’t act with or against your misery, just go about your day as best you can while actively giving it permission to stay. The results may surprise you.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach