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?”

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!

10 thoughts on “Has “Happiness” Replaced The Word “Selfishness?”

  1. Kalai says:

    I never really though about this like that but I think you make excellent points/observations. We have become a society of the selfish. The funny thing to me though is that it actually feels better to do things for others and to make others feel good.

  2. Sage Sheppard says:

    There is a time to exert patience and a time to let go. One must find the difference within themselves. Balance should be the goal. No one was put on earth to be a sacrificial mule, just here for everyone to use up and that’s that. Some people are becoming “selfish” because they haven’t had the opportunity to take care of themselves. On the other hand, no one was put on this earth on an island alone. Yet there are some who have always lived as if their best interests are what matters and oh well to all who suffer for it. This isn’t new. I believe balance is what we should seek so with that I say- balance and wholeness to all who seek it.

  3. Jenny says:

    I actually totally agree with you. I am all for “happy”, but when you start making that the priority over say, duty, morality, civility, you might end up reaching your happiness at the expense of others.

    Further, perhaps being “content” isn’t bad. Maybe it’s even more desirable than happiness. We are too often told by society to do more, get more, etc. Maybe sometimes you are exactly where you should be already. ❤️

  4. Raydeen Springs says:

    I really think this article ,”hits,” home. Some people really don’t have a clue as to what happiness is . They don’t realize happiness is
    right within our reach. It has to come from within. It begins with yourself. Try giving and not expecting anything in return. You will be surprised and that surprise will make you happy! Have a blessed 2017 !

  5. debra says:

    It took a long time but I figured out what being happy means. I now recognize happiness is going out to lunch with friends, shopping with my sister, dinner on a patio on a summers night. All of that and everything else I do fills me up now. I went by myself to a gentle movement class. I was excited to start and so high from the bursts of happiness that kept coming. The happy feeling stayed with me all day. My next adventure by myself was going to a class to make a terrarium. It was so fun I was filled with happiness. Now that I realize even doing the smallest thing makes my heart happy.

  6. Roberta Lojko says:

    I absolutely agree! So many of us have decided that we deserve happiness without doing the hard work to achieve it. Long ago I realized that the only true source of lasting happiness is caring for others and helping them find their own happiness. ❤️ So I became an educator. Now that I’m retired, I’m searching for new ways to bring others happiness in their lives. Trust me : the best way to enrich your life is to work to enrich the lives of others. ????

  7. Liza Flaherty says:

    happiness is an abused term as is the idea we must all exist in an eternal state of happy. Sometimes the happy we see on Facebook is a life style aspiration made up of the palette of colors with the fulfilled happy couple with the perfect back drop.
    None of us wish to court distress, pain and suffering though they can be as short lived as happiness.
    I think it was Freud who said something like, we should strive for a normal level of misery.
    I don’t think any of us know what makes us happy anymore as we are in thrall to each new shiney thing that pops up on line or though a window. We are over stimulated and mistake boredom for depression or distress. If we all got a bit better with just being with ourselves and not tugging at the outside world like a spoiled child looking for Mummy’s constant attention, we might all just relax a little

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