The Happiness Industry is making us miserable

Post 35 of 38

The Happiness Industry is made up of all those books and articles and public speakers and organisations and motivational videos, AND yes, facebook pages, whose focus is about getting us to be happy.

Happy, positive, confident.  All good stuff.  And I do believe we should be these things.  Of course.

It’s just the whole business is starting to irk me.

If I was a conspiracist I’d say the wealthy and powerful few who’re creating such devastation in the world right now, must be sitting back laughing themselves silly at the determined intention of so many to be happy, rather than protest at what’s been taken from them.

But I’m not a conspiracist.  Excepting that there’s often some truth in a good conspiracy theory…

No, I just find the whole thing so selfish.  So focused on SELF.  It’s quite sickening.  Millions of people in the Western world focused on being happy as a primary goal in their lives.  And a great deal of the time, failing.

Which is to be expected.  The world’s in a mess!  It ain’t easy being happy these days.

No, happiness just can’t really be a goal in and of itself.  It’s not an ‘end’.  It’s not even especially the right thing for it to be considered a ‘means’, although it’s no doubt useful at times in aiding us to do more…

Happiness is correctly a by-product.  We should most certainly all hope to be happy, but it’s like a few other of God’s particularly special Graces – like humility and wisdom – it doesn’t come to us via a direct route.  We pick it up along the way, via the practise of other great Virtues.  We can’t AIM to be wise – we can HOPE to be wise – we can even pray for wisdom, but we can’t seek it; unlike knowledge, which is directly available.

I think there are two routes to happiness, and two routes only, and really you best be taking both.

1. Be grateful for what you have.  Truly grateful.  Think about the wonderful things in your life – and there are many – and be thankful for them.  Experience gratitude in your heart.

2. Be of service to others. Especially those less well-off than you. Seek to improve others’ lives in any way you can.  Selflessly. Be kind.

If you can do this, in fact you’ll experience something much greater than happiness, you’ll experience JOY.

Okay, so don’t give up on all the self-help books, and the daily inspirational messages, and the counselling; of course all these things have value.  But just understand that the true path to happiness doesn’t involve YOU as much as it involves “it’s not about me”.

Oh, and protesting about what’s been taken from ‘society’, protesting about greed, about a lack of concern by the few for the many? That’s a service to others.  IMO.

Love and peace.

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This article was written by tryinggodspatience


Nicole St.ClairJanuary 25, 2012 at 2:06 pmReply

Thank you for bringing humility thoughts to my day. You’re right. Too often I look to God for the “good grace feelings” and “hope” rather than “what can I do in return?” Bless you

Shreya ShangariJanuary 25, 2012 at 5:45 pmReply

Rarely do I come across a beacon of honest opinion shining through amongst the herd of like-speaking followers. It goes straight to the heart. Simple. Thoughtful. Insightful. And most importantly, you not just make me think, you touch the deepest core within. Which is something I love in an author. Kudos

CynthiaJanuary 25, 2012 at 7:06 pmReply

I couldn’t agree more. I
have wanted to say something like this myself but I am not a writer and you have put it so well. The way to happiness is through not thinking about your self. I guess no one is going to make money by saying stop being so selfish and self absorbed and you might be a happier person.

Trying God’s PatienceJanuary 26, 2012 at 8:43 amReply

Thanks, Cynthia. You’re probably right! haha xo

DonnaJanuary 26, 2012 at 12:29 pmReply

I was thinking the same thing just the other day! And, mind you, I’m one of those people who not only tries very hard to start every day with a positive thought, I share it daily with a few hundred of my closest friends. 🙂 But have you noticed that many of the “professional” self-helpers are now booking cruises to exotic lands to share their wisdom? What’s up with that? Hmmm…. maybe we could start our own…. Naaaa.

Trying God’s PatienceJanuary 26, 2012 at 1:45 pmReply

Yeah, well-spotted. 😀

Sue SwayzeeFebruary 8, 2012 at 5:12 pmReply

I was thinking of this recently as well, and realized that…to me, happiness is often found unexpectedly, but always from within. It comes as a realization, almost after the fact. I often grouse about how often I am called upon to help this person and that person with something or other, at a time when I really want to be left to my own devices to do whatever it was I wanted to do. But then later I feel so good about the time I spent, or even just the realization that I was able to help someone else, that I feel that warmth of real joy. I’ve also come to realize that, in life, it seems you are either the helper, or…the one needing help. And I think I prefer being the helper, particularly because I’m even worse at accepting help than I am at giving it! I wish I had a better attitude about it more often. But I’m working on it!

Trying God’s PatienceFebruary 8, 2012 at 6:33 pmReply

I totally hear ya on that one, Sue. Thanks for the comment, and the affirmation too! xo

sheilaburkeFebruary 12, 2012 at 11:46 amReply

They key is getting yourself in a good place. You cannot be “happy” if you live a miserable existence and are always mean or nasty, jealous or hateful, or even angry and negative. As one who “spreads the happy”… I am here to say that the world DOES need more happy people. Without positivity, self worth, hope, and compassion for yourself… how can you expect the world to be any better. It starts with one and multiplies. My entire book centers around being a better person, getting healthy in body, mind, spirit and soul. If people come away with being happier for reading it…. I’ve done something good. And that makes ME happy.

Trying God’s PatienceFebruary 12, 2012 at 12:17 pmReply

Totally! xoxo

vixie12February 26, 2012 at 12:31 amReply

I hope I’m not arrested too soon. I like being free to do all the things I enjoy doing and I don’t really want to be done yet. I want to build up on that conviction for as long as I can and then I’ll be worthy of serving my sentence gratefully and with joy! I like and look forward to your FB page. I’m glad I found Your Blog too!

UnattendedMarch 3, 2012 at 2:14 amReply

There is a good interview of James Hillman on Scott London’s web site.


On Soul, Character and Calling:
A Conversation with James Hillman
By Scott London

James Hillman studied with the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 1950s and later became the first director of studies at the Jung Institute in Zurich. After returning to the United States in 1980, he taught at Yale, Syracuse and the universities of Chicago and Dallas. He also became editor of Spring Publications, a small Texas publisher devoted to the work of contemporary psychologists. And he wrote some twenty books of his own.

In spite of these achievements, Hillman was hardly an establishment figure in the world of psychology. If anything, he was looked upon by many in the profession as a profoundly subversive thinker, a thorn in the side of respectable psychologists.


To understand the Happiness Industry you should check out how many people are on legal psychiatric medications, and how such a thing evolved.

Trying God’s PatienceMarch 3, 2012 at 12:18 pmReply

The “happiness industry” is not to be confused with the “medical industry” or the need for medication to deal with depression, etc. I’m referring to that part that has an over-abundant focus on “self” and in so doing encourages the loss of sight of “other”, which is where I believe much greater rewards of happiness lay. It is not to undermine the need for such, but to suggest that a balance is required in what is an incredibly self-focused and selfish world.