Yesterday, I wondered why we chase happiness, but don’t want to catch it. Perhaps we are clutching a big bundle of unhappiness and don’t want to put it down.
We are comfortable with unhappiness. Often, we think we deserve it. “Deserve” is one of those words I see a lot of on Facebook and wonder how people know who “deserves” and who doesn’t. Deserving is a way of giving people permission to feel an emotion they are going to feel anyway.
Back to why we clutch unhappiness. It fills up the empty space in our heart that happiness has avoided. It fills up time. We watch others have what we want, do what we would like to do, get the promotion we drooled after. Unhappiness is familiar. We confuse ‘familiar’ with ‘comfortable.’ And we live comfortably with unhappiness.
There’s one more reason why we hold unhappiness instead of letting it go. It gets more results. Share some joy on Facebook, and you get a few kind “likes.” Put up a tear-stained, painful post and people stand in line to comfort, advise, share their story or top your tale. Unhappiness gets results.
We’re an interesting folk. Chasing what we can’t catch and clutching what makes us miserable.
–Quinn McDonald wonders why people know that you can tell a joke just once and get people to laugh–the second time, it’s no longer funny. But an unhappy story makes us cry time and time again, without changing the situation.