Authentic happiness, bona fide, genuine, real, true, and undoubted, that is the kind of happiness we are all after. Right?
Our culture and society tells us what we need to do in order to find this. Unfortunately, what our culture promises when we “Keep up with the Joneses” is a pretty empty existence.
As a professional, I have a lot of advantages in our society. I am able to earn good money when I practice my trade, people think I am smart because of my designation, and being a lawyer carries with it a certain amount of prestige.
Yet even though I thought I was well on my way to success, a lot of my life passed me by while I continually chased the standard model of success.
I do not need to feel a sense of overwhelming joy at all moments, but I do need the joy to be authentic when it is there, not just some purchased joy for moments or hours of consuming pleasure.
My profound mistake was that I thought authentic happiness was a destination rather than a state of being. My thoughts were like this: I will be happy when I finish my degree … when I finish my next degree … when I am articling … when I am a actually a lawyer … when I am a partner … when I own my own house … when I am married …when the baby comes ... when I am no longer burdened with financial stress … when I am retired.... You get the picture.
The reason why we seek success is to live happily and yet, the very definition of success in our culture of being successful like the “Joneses” almost guarantees misery.
My pursuit of being successful and keeping up with the “Joneses” without even realizing it has cost me dearly.
I became sick, depressed, overweight and lost relationships that were dearly important to me.
So, this is what can happen to someone who is "successful."
Success brought my life lots of complications, but it did not bring authentic happiness. By all intents and purposes I played the game of doing well and being successful.
I kept up with the Joneses in a profound way without even seeing it. I did this all while regularly consulting with people including experts such psychologists, naturopaths, life coaches and business coaches. I failed to question the whole pursuit of success in the first place.
As I have been doing away with my inner Jones I see there is a better, quicker, cheaper way for us to achieve authentic happiness like living more simply, taking care of our health and relationships, taking care of our finances, confronting our addictive behaviors and taking care of our body.
Written by Val Hemminger, the nonconforming professional