Why is happiness so suspect?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Why is happiness so suspect?
68
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 8:01am

For a while now I've noticed a trend here that baffles me -- apparently No one is to be believed if they cop to being happy or content...if they admit that their life is just fine thank you. if they don't bemoan not having more money or not being thinner or not having a better job or having a job but wanting to stay home or staying home but wanting a job ...if one says "yeah you know...life's pretty good - got my health, my family, life's as I like it" then that's seen as "pollyana-ish" or "naive"

I. Don't. Get. it.
Why?

Why are so many so quick to tear down, to judge, to laugh, to mock, and most of all to suspect that peoepl are LYING because they say they're happy. If someone came on and said "oh my life sucks, I don't have enough money, I'm bored, I'm lonely, etc.." does that make them more believable? Have we as a whole be come so suspicous of our fellow men and women we simplly can't believe someone is content that we haveto resort to " you live THERE? you're lying if you say you like it" or " you weigh WHAT? you can' possibly be happy" or "You're not WEALTHY?" how can you possibly EXIST? Really people? Really?

Send your kid to a small private school and you're "denigrating public schools" send your kid to public school and like it? well you're just FOOLING yourself schools are good in your area. Work at a job you love and is intellectually rewarding? You're kidding yourself.. you work for money you moron. how naive to think you work at ajob you love. Save to spend money on a vacation? You're flaunting your EXTRAS -- (hey here's an idea..how about just saying 'have a great trip?') Have you been on the receiving end of kindness -- a gift from friends, a gesture of humanity and caring? Well you must have ASKED for it you grubbing grabby selfish person...

Can I just ask? Who the hell appointed so many of us the judgement police for other people's lives? Seriously. Get the heck over yourselves. If your own life is that bitter then I'm sorry for you.

mine's not. I'm happy. Whether you believe it or not...

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Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 8:35am

LOL, I don't know what the problem is. Perhaps in the puritan, American ethic if you are content you are just not aiming high enough.

There was, btw, an interesting article on the BBC today about the fact that social mobility in the US is every bit as bad as in the UK, and that places like Finland and Canada do a much better job of leveling the playing field. But American culture is very achievement oriented and very wedded to the idea that you can always have more, be more, get more if only you try hard enough and that this is what being an American is all about. In that context, claiming happiness in modest, material circumstances or simply being content messes up a bunch of dearly held assumptions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 9:22am

You know...good question and I have no idea what the answer is.


PumpkinAngel

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2009
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 9:25am

"In that context, claiming happiness in modest, material circumstances or simply being content messes up a bunch of dearly held assumptions."


I think you can have and do both - be happy with what you have, but strive to have and be more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 9:31am

yeahhhhhh I guess... I mean Ilike to think I try to be a better person -- and I work really hard at the pay it forward philosophy ( example, I'm giving $100 to a young colleague who just got accepted into a leadership program I'm a graduate of -- the tuition is steep for her and since I had help from my mom when I did my program I'm helping her out to do hers) and I try to be a better mom pretty much every day LOL

but I don't understand why it's so hard for peple to jsut believe in anothers contentment... are we THAT distrusting? are we THAT dissatisfied that we can't comprehend someone just sayind 'you know. life is good...rock on"

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 9:38am

I'm curious about what you mean by "here."

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2009
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 9:48am

Part of it is entitlement. Forlinis' post aobve in one of the debate threads that the more people have the more they want would explain why the rich are not happy, if it's widespread.


My choice has been to have more time not to try to make more and more money. I do think it's always good to strive for personal improvement though.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2009
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 10:18am

Lovely vent Katie. Just lovely.

Avatar for mommy2amani
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 10:50am


If you are happy with what you have, then why strive for more?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2009
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 11:02am

"If you are happy with what you have, then why strive for more?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Thu, 07-23-2009 - 11:15am

What type of personal improvement?


I mean if you are happy in your life, what kind of personal improvement are you talking about here?


PumpkinAngel

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