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Because Happiness is not Enough

Spam Filter for your Brain Episode 41

I've been thinking a lot this week about how striving to be happy is a unhelpful paradigm to set yourself up with. And it sounds like the thing we all sort of default to as the aspiration for life. We're all just seeking to be happy. But, if we have this as the framework that we're looking for at all times, that we're just seeking happiness, then what happens is there's a whole load of other emotions in life that come up that we not only dismiss as unwanted and undesired or frankly wrong, but I think more interestingly is we see them as a problem to be fixed. And all of these other emotions fall part of and become part of the framework of what life is.

Imagine when cooking if you decided that salt was the only thing that was right and all the other seasonings, spices, flavours, tastes, and textures were just an inconvenience around the salt. That would make quite a weird meal. Probably every meal from now on would be pretty peculiar if you were only seeking out that one taste. And I think with this slightly rubbish analogy, you can see that what you'd be missing out on is just a whole load of variety and other things which, in their own merit or even as their own standalone things, can be pretty interesting and fascinating.

Some of them you don't like, some of them you like more than you were expecting. Perhaps some of them you like in context that you were not really ready for before, or you hadn't quite anticipated that you might enjoy as much as you do. But if you're seeking that particular vein of what life could be, that one particular idea of it, you miss out on a whole load of other things that will happen to you anyway. There is no way of creating a life where you have happiness.

The irony being that if all you had was happiness, it wouldn't feel very good because you wouldn't have anything to measure it against. You would have no idea of what not being happy felt like. And so if everything was painted blue, you wouldn't be able to see what blue was because it would just be blue. No contrast and no comparison.

So random weird painting analogies and random weird cooking analogies are what you get this week. But the central premise that I wanted to slide into your thoughts this week is the idea that having things that are not happiness are not problems to be solved. They're all just new adventures and flavours of life's experiences and our emotions.

And remember, emotions are just sensations in our body, travelling up to our brain that we have given some particular job title. And then to that job title, we've attached a whole load of stories and meanings as to what those sensations and that job title means.

But emotions are not the barometer of a good life lived or a good person existing.

The idea is that the more we can learn to love and accept all flavours and all facets of the vast expanse that life is, then the more calm we are with whatever life throws at us, rather than constantly feeling like we have to solve, fix and resolve all of the adventures that we're out there having.


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