What is Happiness?

Happiness is some cryptic shit. It’s a chimera. A faceshifting freak in a room of mirrors. It’s wonderful and horrible. It helps us and it hurts us. It hamstrings us and elevates us. It’s a pit and it’s a ladder. It — and its many forms, be they satisfaction or pleasure or bliss — is a thing so intensely personal it’s impossible to let anyone else tell us how to get it, keep it, or use it. I think it’s worth asking yourself, how will I be happy? It’s worth trying to find the path to satisfaction. And I don’t think that path is drawn through careful study or through mathematical findings. You don’t get happy through a pro/con list. (Unless you do? See? So personal.) It’s in your gut. It’s a feeling, an instinct, and maybe at the end of the day the shortest path to unhappiness is to ignore yourself and all the inner voices that are screaming for you to go left, go left, for fuck’s sakes go left and all you do is go right. Go with your gut. Follow your bliss. Give to others without taking. Be you. Be the best version of you. And share it with the world. Then again, what the fuck do I know? ”

Chuck Wendig, “25 Things I’m Wondering About Happiness”

Here at UE, we are not trying to give you the answers. We are trying to share the options. These weekly We Don’t Know posts are designed to focus on questions where the only answer is your answer.

Today, we feature a post by author and blogger Chuck Wendig from his website Terrible Minds. When we were sent this post, it immediately struck us how Chuck’s musings on happiness embody so much of what we try to accomplish through our UE community.

At the beginning of his post, Chuck describes his ability to be an “expert” on happiness as follows:

“So, here I am. A clueless, inexpert, inelegant dude. Trying to figure shit out. Like, even now, I don’t know that I agree with half of what I’ve written here. And tomorrow I won’t agree with the other half. But it feels like it’s worth talking about anyway.”

That’s pretty much how we feel about everything we post on UE, just as our mission statement says: You don’t know everything. Neither do we.

To give you a taste of Chuck’s first four “wonderings” on happiness:

1. “Nobody knows what the fuck it is.”

2. “Nobody knows what the fuck it does.”

3. “Happiness is a choice.”

4. “Except when it’s totally not a choice.”

…You get the idea. Go read it for yourself and tell us what you think about happiness in the comments.

Photo by Anastasia Heuer

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1 Comment

  1. One of my favorite romances, The Blue Castle (L.M. Montgomery wrote more than Anne of Green Gables!), features this line: “The greatest happiness,” said Valancy suddenly and distinctly, “is to sneeze when you want to.” Her point isn’t about sneezing, of course – it’s about the freedom to be oneself, and to express oneself when needed. I’m not sure what happiness is, but I’m sure that freedom is an essential component.

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