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9 Oct

IN THE MOOD FOR REFLECTION

“Americans are obsessed with happiness – and it’s making us miserable”. Lol! Per Ruth Whippman a Brit and author living in the USA. We laugh, but maybe she has a point and it is at least worth thinking about.

Did my kid make the A team? Get invited to the party? Should I go to the gym or catch up on my much needed rest? Should I start that gratitude journal or pick up Gretchen Rubin’s best seller Happier at Home? The book The Alchemist told me I should know my passion and pursue it. What is my passion? I should know it! She seems nice, I’d like to be her friend, but will she like me? Do I care? Will I feel awkward if I get rejected? Are we eating healthy foods? Should I try botox? Will this election year bring about any positive change for our country? Maybe I do need to go for the hundredth time to yet another meeting called “mindful parenting” and listen to someone who claims to know it all about how I can be a better parent? But then I’d miss my NYU mindfulness in business and leadership event. I really didn’t do well at that last meditation class but my yoga friends love it, what’s wrong with me?

It’s never ending what goes on in our heads about how to make ourselves happy. Is it just Americans (as suggested in the book pictured above and article accessible below) or everyone? After all, we are all human. We are also global now. Social media connects everyone everywhere immediately. We are one. FOMO is real time and not just limited to the USA. Yes, we are all trying to find our way and be as happy as often as feasible. Even though we may raise an eyebrow at that friend who never fails to be chipper, positive under all conditions at all times. What’s wrong with that? Shall we all simply settle on what we get instead of going for what we want? What does it mean to be happy? If we are all unique humans, then there is no one formula for success and ultimately happiness. Human nature can’t be avoided. There will always be that innate feeling that I am ok as long as I have what my friend or colleague has. My kid is ok as long as he/she is at the same level as his/her friends. This may not actually be true but it is how we think. We don’t necessarily always copycat but we do always compare. It takes a whole bunch of self confidence to be able to wear blinders and block out the world whirling around us and “just be you”! So maybe it is American and we are all over obsessed with self help and happiness. We do have a history of independence. Social media reinforces the me me me in us all. It’s not our fault. It’s our founding fathers’ and technology’s faults! You see, Americans are also obsessed with blaming others – and it’s making us happy.

After reading Ruth’s funny and entertaining article, HERE, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I would love to know what you think.

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1 Comment
  • Adele Bonnie

    I really enjoyed the article, and agree that our obsession with happiness can actually have the effect of making us less happy in the long run. I completely disagree about her characterization of mindfulness as just yet another trendy tool we’re using to pursue happiness. I think she misunderstands what it’s all about. Yes, mindfulness has become trendy recently. But meditation and mindfulness, like yoga, have been around for thousands of years. At its core Mindfulness is about paying attention; not about attaining “happiness”.
    For the past 2 years I’ve been meditating on a regular basis and I’ve seen enormous benefits. It’s not that I feel happier, per se, but rather more balanced. It’s a sense of equanimity; that even when I feel sad, angry or afraid that I am still OK.

    October 9, 2016 at 9:51 am Reply

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