So many of us tie happiness to the fulfillment of "more." The concept of "more" is one of the basic characteristics of "human nature." Happiness is not a function of human nature; it should not be tied to it.
The basis of Human Nature is "not to be satisfied." Human nature is to seek pleasure, to fulfill desires, to accomplish, to better our world, to never quit, to persevere, to constantly strive for "more." whatever the aspects of human nature that we strive for, we will never be satisfied. Insatiability, and the drive to be satisfied are at the heart of human nature. You can never have enough intimacy, food, love, accomplishment, money, success, etc. The problem that we run into is that many of us feel that we would be happy "if." For such a small word, so much can hang on it. "If" is considered a condition. As an example; polls show that people in general state that they would be happy "if" they had 50% more salary. Then, after that goal was reached and they were polled again, they would be happy with 50% more again. No matter how much we have, we want "more."
To want "more", in and of itself, is not a bad thing, in fact it is a great thing. To desire "more" is what has produced all of the great inventions and discoveries of our civilization; not to mention artwork and the overall betterment of the human condition. "Human nature," unfortunately, has also created what is "bad" in this world, like Hitler, Mussolini, street gangs, wars, man's inhumanity towards man, etc.
Where we go wrong is to base happiness on the attainment of accomplishment, or the achievement of a goal, or on any level of success (however we define it.) The result of this behavior is the assurance that we will never be happy.
If you have read my postings, then you know my basic philosophy of happiness; “Happiness is a decision.” Actually, happiness is a decision to be grateful for what we have, no matter how much, no matter how little. Happiness can be had by rich and poor alike. If you practice this philosophy "happiness is a decision to be grateful," you can be happy most every day of your life, while still striving for “more.”
Basing happiness on any aspect of human nature is a recipe for disaster; you assure yourself of never being able to attain happiness no matter how much you have or how much more you get.
To better understand how "happiness" and "Human Nature" can exist side by side I have created this following quote: “Human nature is what drives us, happiness is what sustains us." Think of two perpendicular lines, one pointing up and the other pointing sideways. The one pointing up represents human nature, a constant up-hill battle to achieve. The one pointing sideways represents happiness; we have the ability to maximize happiness no matter where we are on the vertical line, by the simple process of choosing and the power of gratitude. On the other hand we also have the ability to choose misery and sadness.
There are those who state that the world has so much pain and hardship, wars and evil, and that knowing this, "how can we be happy?" At the end of the day, it comes down to individual choice as to what we do with this knowledge. The vertical line that represents achievement can also represent the desire to change the world around us.
My constant companion is Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Pledge: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.” If we can apply this to everything we do, the ability to choose happiness becomes a lot easier.
The one thing to remember from this is that the "choice is yours!"
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