As a therapist, the number-one goal I hear from my patients is: “I just want to be happy.” I ask, “What would being happy mean to you?” The answers range from “Everything I wish for will happen” to “I will feel good all the time” to “I won’t ever feel sad or disappointed.”
These patients are deeply misguided: believing that bliss is a permanent, attainable state is both unrealistic and emotionally dangerous. Awful things occur that we cannot control, and that will and should at least temporarily affect how we feel.
A utopian world would be like I Love Lucy: it would be possible to have a minor stress of the week resolved in 24 minutes
My happiness-seeking patients are also, sadly, doomed to fail. It’s a time-worn paradox: the more you obsess over whether you are happy or happy enough, the unhappier you are. As I’ve witnessed from years of counseling patients, contentment emerges as a byproduct of a good life, not from the pursuit of it being your life’s purpose.
Here are some of the most common myths my patients believe about happiness — and how I help my patients move past them.
More here – Vox