Today I had a class assignment. All of the students in my class had to take a happiness scale survey that would tell us from 1-5, 1 being the less and 5 being the best, how happy we are. I had to take the survey multiple times because my answer to the question would contradict a previous question. While changing my answers I realized that maybe many other people are having that same problem. I didn’t understand the survey because I was answering it truthfully and to the best of my abilities. While dissecting what was going on, I decided to look at the discussion board and see what questions would be asked about the survey. The first question asked if I was surprised that the majority of the world is happy. The second part was what I felt would contribute to that happiness. I’m pretty sure that as soon as my professor read my response she would have that “Oh shit. He is one of those!” perspectives, but for a psych professor, I am almost positive that she will understand my response. It is a problem that I see on a daily basis. Now let’s hope that I don’t get in trouble for posting this, but I feel that everybody should see my perspective on the situation.
I am not surprised at all that the Subjective Happiness Scale shows that most people are fairly happy. The scale involves us to rate questions, to the best of our knowledge, of how happy we are but that’s where I feel that that’s where it ends. Many of the questions would require answers that would contradict another question that would be asked later on in the survey. In my opinion, I feel that the scale gives a false rating because most people do not know what happiness is. Instead people are assuming that they are happy because of what society wants you to believe is happiness. This is only one of many examples that I have but, how many of my fellow peers know a large amount of people that go to the club every weekend and literally party until Monday? Now ask yourself this question. If they were truly happy, would they be waking up on Monday and counting down the days until Friday so that they can go back to the same club and do the same things that they did the weekend prior? Society has, for the most part, brainwashed us to believe that we are happy because “We are what we eat”, meaning everything that we ingest becomes us. We surround ourselves with music that constantly brags about “popping bottles” in the club and going out to “make it rain”. We watch television that is solely revolved around sex, drugs, drama and violence. Going onto social media and watching people express their emotions about relationships and constantly bashing or comparing themselves to others because of their own insecurities. That’s all that we know, so what we tend to do is what society makes us believe is happiness when its not happiness at all. Look to your neighbor and ask them when the last time that they went to another state, went skydiving, hiking, left the country, swam with sharks, put a puzzle together, went to wine tasting, stopped at a random location and stared at the stars or simply just stayed home and enjoyed the people that they love for reasons other than them not having any money to go out? Now ask those same people how much they spent this past weekend buying drinks and entering establishments that only lasted for a very small amount of time. They will tell you that they love their life and are extremely happy, which some people may actually truly love doing that stuff, but the majority think that they love it only because they don’t know anything other than that and society supports it. Happy people don’t tend to have many insecurities but, in this day and age, its hard for a woman to walk out of the house without makeup. Society has put into our mind what beauty is. Go to the search tab on Google and type in the word “beauty” and look at the pictures. The people that society considers beautiful don’t even look like that in real life. For the ladies, this is just an example so please don’t take it personal because there is a huge amount of woman that feel beautiful without needing to change their appearance. See what I just did? I felt the need to apologize to complete strangers because of the fear that somebody may be offended. If the majority of society was happy, most people wouldn’t get offended over that simple example. Men, you are not off the hook either. I know many men that spend their last dime on temporary materials to show what society feels that a man is supposed to have, which in the end will leave him broke and unhappy.
Now, what I feel contributes to happiness is the exact opposite. I personally believe that happiness comes from within, but its something that has to be done on purpose. Review what I stated in the first paragraph. People in the first part have a false sense of happiness because they follow the trend of doing what others do. The ones that are happy go out and do what others don’t do. They tend to do what they, themselves, want to do. Throw away the stereotypes. Throw away the pride. Throw away everything that the world told you that you are supposed to do, what to wear, how to walk, what activities are “cool” and tell me if people wouldn’t be happy. The negativity that society shows us all throughout life is what helps contribute to happiness because people will use that to understand who they are and what they want and do not want to be in life. They will make mistakes and fail forward. They will do what people say that they can’t and they will surround themselves with other happy people that will boost them and help them. Happy people tend to get out of their comfort zone and experience many more options that, in return, make them happy. Use a child for example. They will tell you all day long that they don’t like a certain food because its nasty even though they never tried it but once they taste it, they don’t want anything else. Same concept. People that are happy have opened up their horizons and changed their perspective on life. They look at society and gain an appreciation for where there are and what they have. Happy people don’t make excuses but instead work hard and do what needs to be done to be happy.
So, in a nutshell, I am not surprised that the happiness scale taught us that most people are happy. Most people don’t even know what happiness is, but for the ones that are happy they find happiness from within and the negativity that the world shows us day in and day out, is what contributes to that happiness as long as we purposely make changes within ourselves. So get that haircut, try something new, talk to a stranger, do something out of the loop and just be happy.