1. They start pursuing “sources” of happiness rather than happiness itself
A very common example is money. You think money would give you happiness. It surely can, but the problem arises when you start to pursue money itself rather than happiness. You ignore your friends and loved ones, lose your health and in the end miss all the opportunities where it could have given you happiness. Similarly, you get obsessed by smart phones, social media, etc. The “sources” of are just the means, not happiness itself. Learn to use them well.
2. They don’t let go of the past and worry too much about the future
In your journey, you would sometimes fail, relationships would break, money would be lost, sky would fall down, rocks would tumble and all hell would break loose. Things for sure would not always go the way you wanted them to be. But the key to happiness is to take lessons from the past and let it go. Similarly, future is uncertain. If you worry too much about all the “What ifs” and “Hows”, you would never be able to enjoy the only moment you have – the present.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present” – Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda
3. They compare their happiness with others and create sadness
You become sad when you see your neighbour with a better car, friend with better marks, peer with a better salary and so on. You go on a vacation at your favorite place all happy, but when you come back and go on Facebook and see photos of your friends having fun, you immediately think how boring yours was compared to theirs which brings you misery. You feel really happy while learning guitar in pursuit of your hobby, but when you see someone else performing on stage, you immediately get dissatisfied. The following quote beautifully summarizes how to pursue real happiness.
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” – Stacey Charter