I’ve heard something along the lines of “happiness is taking care of your responsibilities” in many different instances over my life. This way of thinking is not the cultural norm, I would say…not for western culture, anyway. I think a lot of people, especially young people, think happiness comes from having the freedom to do whatever they want. Freedom to do something is very important, I’ll give them that, but it still won’t give us that perfect sense of happiness we crave.
You could argue, it leaves us more empty. Things we want will never fill that void because they aren’t what we need. Only what we need, fills the void. For example, I may want a new Dior bag, but since it doesn’t take care of my real “needs” it will probably never be enough. 1 bag or 100 bags. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always important to get things you may deserve but there is only so much things can do.
I guess my thesis here is that responsibility and purpose, are a better focus for those looking to feel happy and satifsied with life. Here is why:
Happiness is a “now” thing: We always make future plans to ensure a security and happiness. Whether it’s career, family, or money, we are always thinking about our state of being and mind. But since happiness is a feeling, we can only really feel it in the moment it comes. Therefore, basing everything off the idea that “I’ll do it because it will make me happy” can be a little misguiding sometimes. How are we really supposed to know if it will actually make us happy then when we’re contastly learning or changing and if happiness is only something you can feel in the moment? Sometimes this doesn’t apply (you really can make goals around something you think will make you happy) but other than those few instances, I’ve found myself really agreeing with this.
I’ve learned that living a life by committing to your respsonsibilities helps you feel useful and accomplished. It builds a purpose, which helps create meaning and satisfaction. It’s bascially just an attitude change. I’m a 26 year old living with my parents and helping pay some bills because they need it at the moment. When I was younger, I thought at this point of my life I’d have more money, a husband, a very successful career, fame, and more (I’m still working on some of these things). But I find myself happy paying a bill, talking to my coworkers at the small business I work at, and writing for free on this blog (lol). I wouldn’t have understood this kind of happiness when I was in high school.
I’m still learning and it’s never always happiness (only psychos are always happy) but I have sense of contentment, peace, and fulfillment from doing the right thing and helping loved ones. That’s all I need.
Controling yourself vs. Controling others: Making responsibility the major source of your happiness is also a matter of controling what you can do instead of controlling others. When you make your responsibilites and duties the focus of your living, you become more concerened about what you do as opposed to what others do AKA your happiness comes for your contribution as opposed to what others do or give you, etc.
The best example of this can probably be found in marriage. I think the happiest marriages are those with 2 people who understand that marriage is WORK and that their resposibilities and contributions to their union are the key to keeping love afloat. It’s not about what you want to do all the time but what you should do to keep things going smoothly. When your happiness comes from fulfilling your roles and duties, it seems to be more lasting than the joy that comes from controlling or taking from your partner.
You put your happiness in your own hands when you focus on your own responsibilities and what you can bring to the table.
This concept of happiness and responsibility, for me, have become the key to my sanity in a way. It grounds things back to reality and gives a sense of lifelong joy and accomplishment. I’m still working on things and finding the right path for myself but as long as I am doing what I need to be, I think things will turn out ok. Thanks for reading my random rant on happiness and responsibility! If you have any thoughts of your own, please share. I’d love to hear.
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