361 Days & Counting

To all who think that “Happiness” is under attack ~

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

Yes, ‘war’ language is now part of our lexicon. Why not? Humans won’t stop warring with or against each other, so it just makes sense.

Back to “Happiness” ~ the construct.

“Happiness” itself is not under attack. It’s being used against us if we are not wealthy, thin, or well connected. It’s being used as a weapon of guilt, shame and blame.

NOBODY is out to get happiness.

NOBODY is trying to debunk the idea that happiness is a thing.

NOBODY is trying to ‘prove’ or ‘disprove’ the worthiness of happiness.

It’s almost humorous to believe that that is happening.

It’s a full circle moment for me, since I was one of the first ones studying happiness (without the fame, wealthy, or well connected Ivy to launch my career into the 7-figure happy-game). My professors actually made me change the name of my study from “Happiness” to, “Subjective Well-Being” which cost me months of very expensive time.

‘There is always time’, they say. Just not when it’s attached to a financial burden.

The people who AGREE with the happiness research are also going to AGREE with the importance of all emotions. Including those called ‘negative’.

“Positive Psychology” is NOT the “positivity” movement. They are similar ~ a lot like kissing cousins without the ick factor. One informs. The other … tries to …?

Cheer people up? Sells for a profit? Tries to tell everyone to just be happy? Tells folks like me (grumpy old women) that we don’t rate, ’cause we’re cynical realists? I’m not really sure.

I will be writing about our innate happiness ratio in another post on another page. I’ll link it back to here if you’re curious. Until then, google it.

How did we end up here?

Because from day one, in that now infamous 1998 speech to the APA, there have been oppositional movements to debunk the importance of the positive psychology movement.

For those NOT in the field of psychology, you should know, the theorists, researchers and other assorted ambitious people in the field were insulted by that speech. They said, “How dare you” to the then President of the APA.

I mean, what organization is 100% team ONE person?

None.

There were people who opposed Marty. There were people who opposed the concept of studying “the good life”.

There were even people who just wanted to be famous for their work in studying mental illness, so were some how put off by this very notion of studying happiness.


Academia is an ill behaved family that reminds me of the movie, Death at a Funeral (British and American versions).

Gloria Steinem Quote Stunning Model, Unknown (to me)

For the record, I used to be an optimist and a purist. I LOVE learning (it’s my top strength consistently now for the past dozen or so years). I love the idea of higher education. I don’t love petty, back biting, or badly behaved jealous competitors who set out to sabotage. Academia is both. The parents never put an end to it, because they are part of the problem. That’s another topic for another time.

So what happened?

I started studying happiness in 2009. I was studying the research of a fellow (super nice man) by the name of Dr. Diener. He had been studying it back in the 70’s ~ it wasn’t a foreign concept.

It’s stranger that people thought it was strange to study happiness in the first place.

It makes sense to study what is good in the world. So why criticize it?

Money.

It’s all about the money my good people. The money (grants, funding, paychecks for the researchers) was flowing toward the study of what’s wrong with people.

To this day ~ the DSM is called, “the Bible” of the psychology world. Except by some who realize it’s not a tell all or end all for humans. It changes … often enough to prove that. Then again, so was the actual bible. Changed. Christians get really mad when people say that out loud.

Humans are more complicated than that. AND, the field needed an overhaul.

Again, what happened?

Spirituality wanted a piece of that happiness pie. So did the new age guru’s and motivational speakers, the “influencers” saw dollar signs.

The young traditionalists didn’t want to hear about happiness applied to every day life ~ which is where I come in.

There are some people (too many, IMO) who don’t want to hear about applying positive psychology at all. Others who are naysayers as if it’s absurd. Yet more who will gaslight the shit out of someone’s psyche with making them feel guilty for not staying …. sad in their sadness or serious in their recovery from trauma.

There is a wild assumption that if someone is recovering or grieving, that they are supposed to be sad … all the time. Or, worse! Serious … all the time.

The dark side of happiness is that happiness itself ~ is always under attack!

Dumbest thing ever, and yet ~ here we are. With haters and trolls, trying to undermine each other’s work ~ inside the field and out.

Then you have to consider that the newly enlightened folks seem to think they have all the answers. The weekend vaca-buddhists and the casual retreat attending Hindi’s who aren’t going to practice the religion itself, but they do meditate on a mountain for a spell, only to come down, head to Starbucks, and write a tell all autobiography about how they found “God” in a pebble ~ then start speaking about how they can cure the world of both dark and light, gaslighting EVERYone who is grieving with the concept of “forgiveness” as a construct for digging into happiness. They often also look super cute in their yoga pants or flowing robes. But now I’m just stereotyping. It’s mean. I’ll stop.

A brain doc.(Medical Doctor famous for studying the brain), just put a “happiness” book out.

See?

Bandwagon.

Everyone is selling it. Go to the Barnes and Noble discount table around spring time ~ 20% off stickers on entire tables of all the books written by all the people who may or may not have an actual doctorate in the study of happiness ~ all saying pretty much the same thing.

In steps ~ pillars ~ signs ~ workbooks ~ mountain tops ~ earthing ~ grounding ~ and other assorted conference ted talks.

See why I’m on the dark side ~

Happiness is NOT under attack. Admitting to the dark side of it ~ is.

Of course now, the pop-cultural revolution revamped Jung’s work ~ the father of the father of the father of the positive psychology movement ~ so now, they’re all talking about ‘shadow work’ ~ it’s the latest rage.

The thing is ~

The study of it [happiness] did two things.

  1. It made some people very, very wealthy
  2. It divided people into two categories. Those who have and those who have not.

People who were generally happy, also added in fitness. Financial, physical, connected fitness. Then, that ripple effect poured all over the houseless people; the heavier people; people of color, or ethnic minorities; the less well-connected people and the people who hate to go out mountain biking, or running long distance. Where are they in the study of happiness.

It’s NOT a one-size-fits-all topic. Nor, should it be. The research knows that. The positivity movement? Not as much.

Happiness bled into physical fitness which lead us into this assumption that unless you are “happy” (outward appearance), you are unemployable which made a lot of people very angry and lost others their jobs.

Sarcasm and outrage took to the streets. How DARE we tell others how to be happy!

It gets ugly which circles back around to funny.

It’s funny because it’s not funny.

And that, my friends, is happiness in a bottle. It’s rather like Forest Gump, now isn’t it?

For this my 4th day of my 58th year, I’m finding humor in all things.

The world is falling apart on the people across the ocean. I’m going to appreciate what I have here, in the now. My heart hurts for the people of Ukraine. I won’t be changing that strong sense of empathy any time soon either. Even if it gets in the way of a full on happiness-attack.

I’m also going to find the balance of knowing there is great and terrible darkness raining down on innocent people.

I live in the balance.

SO …. MY question of the day is this:

Are you monopolizing happiness as a selling tool? I’m not buying ~ I’m just not sure why I didn’t do it a long time ago.

My work to do on myself this past year was to stop judging others, but also hold fast to my own skills and understanding.

People are people. That will never change.

And ~ happiness is 100% free. Nobody can sell it to you. You’re not buying it.

Happiness is not under attack. Perhaps, however, overtly average lives … are.

KH

@happinessnoir @inkhoneypub

henryhealing.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s