What Would Make You Happy?
Ask anyone what would make them happy and you’re likely to get an answer in terms of money; how much money it would take to make them happier; “If I had fifty thousand / five hundred thousand / five million dollars, then I’d be happy” and then you’re likely to get told about what they would do with that money – paying off debts, bigger houses, overseas trips. However, it might be that some level of happiness is nearer to hand than this.
‘Take my worries away'
When people think about what would make themselves happier it seems to be mainly about doing things that will relieve their immediate worries or do things to blot out their unhappiness. Whilst many hope to provide much-needed help to others or giving to charity, many dream of giving up their jobs and having a life of leisure or of paying back debts.
Coupled with this is the idea that we will just be given this money, either through Tattslotto or perhaps by someone else – a rich aunt. For most people these are unlikely events; in so many cases the dreams of happiness that people have never get realised as they are pinned to something that will never happen.
What is it that makes us unhappy?
Perhaps an alternative to this might be to wonder what it is that actually makes us unhappy – the ‘problem’ that we hope the extra money will ‘cure’ – and what we can realistically do about it. Is it that we are depressed and discouraged about finding work that interests us and pays well? Is it that we have situations in our life that make us uncomfortable, anxious or angry and make us want to escape them? Do we want to try to ease our guilt and shame about the mistakes of the past? Would we like people to think better of us?
If our unhappiness is actually at least partially due to the things that we think and the things that we feel; then it might be that a modest investment in counselling / psychotherapy focused on changing these things might make some difference to our happiness today.
– Tim Hill