Has “Happiness” Replaced The Word “Selfishness?”

Everyone is on a personal pursuit of happiness. Society throws the word “happiness” around as if it’s the highest level of personal fulfillment. Decisions, actions, and even relationships are built around the idea of securing more happiness. And whenever there is a bump in the road and our personal happiness is questioned, we begin to wonder whether we can continue what we are doing or if we should abandon ship and pursue happiness elsewhere.


Although there is nothing wrong with striving for contentment, it can quickly become a downward spiral. Think about when you set a goal for yourself. You work hard making progress, and as soon as the goal is accomplished, the celebration is cut short and a higher goal is set. This is what can happen with happiness. We imagine what will bring us joy, but just as soon as we make that dream a reality, we are on to the next dream feeling unsatisfied until we get there.

This is because happiness is becoming less about what we offer this world and more about what the world can offer us.

Dare I say, the pursuit of happiness has somehow morphed into selfishness wrapped up in a pretty red bow.

To outwardly demand our selfish desires would be frowned upon, so as a society, we came up with a way to mask the word with a more accepted, positive word: “happiness.” You deserve to be happy, after all.

Again, I am all about happiness, but not when we are more concerned with our own satisfaction than for the world as a whole.

Think to yourself about the past 24-hours. What were your complaints? Your job, marriage, interactions with a friend, weight, etc. Were you frustrated or annoyed because your complaint negatively impacted another person or because YOU were affected? How much of your day did you sit in a puddle of self-pity because the world around you didn’t accommodate your needs or wants the ways you had hoped?

This is what the world says: Are you unhappy with your job? Quit! Are you unhappy with your marriage? End it! Are you unhappy with your friend? Walk away! Because our intrinsically motivated selves know that if we get rid of the hard things, we will be so much happier!

But I want to call you to something greater, though harder. I challenge you to sometimes stick with the hard things, because only then will you grow. I challenge you to sacrifice your own happiness for another’s, because only then will you experience a fulfilling happiness that isn’t fleeting. And I challenge you to consider replacing the word “happiness” with “selfishness” in some cases to see if your happiness pursuits are actually leading you on a journey to more selfishness.

Tell me your thoughts, do you think “happiness” can sometimes be a cover-up for “selfishness?”

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Article Author

Amanda Foust

Amanda Foust

Amanda is a wife, mother, writer, and certified life coach. Pen and paper make her spirit come alive. She spends her creative time reading, decorating, and handwriting fonts. Her world is better with an assortment of chocolate and a stack of books packed and ready for travel. She is a writer for Downs Ups & Teacups. When she's not writing, she's planning outdoor adventures with her husband and two children. She believes life feels best when it's truly lived!

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