Why Are We Unhappy?

Clock in clock out. A day that revolves around meals, where the tiniest snack can make your day a little less tiresome. It’s not exactly what you thought work would be is it? At least you’ve got the weekend though. Or not. Birthdays, farewells, even engagements have you booked up for weeks to come. Busy as can be, you hustle about buzzing by day to day with a fleeting sense of time escaping you non stop. Happy yet? Well at least not unhappy.

It’s an elusive concept, if you’re happy, if you catch it, just how long will you hold it in your grasp? You’re ticking off the to do list, behaving in an adult manner and still your hands as if covered in grease fail to hold onto it. Happiness is the pinnacle of success now, thanks to freelance freedom, flexible working arrangements and never-ending social engagements. You can’t just attain the piece of paper, you have to take a photo and share it widely before it means anything. Likes ticking away once you do.

This carefully varnished social media reality, where without the help of goggles or binoculars you can peer into another’s life and jealously stroll through it. It’s not called stalking for nothing. We rush to these social media starlets and throw adulation their way for posting a decent photo or making a decent meal. It’s almost childish. As if rewarding their basic human functions. Because as we sit eating our sad desk lunches, another meal of canned tuna while they enjoy another poke bowl or sashimi platter, it puts them on a pedestal. Eyes glow green with envy and we want to have whatever they’re having. Jealously rages.

A double mirror situation, on one side the subject goes about their day while unbeknownst to them we are captivated by their every move. Scrolling into the depths of past uploads, knee deep in school formal photos and school muck up days. Sure embarking on your dream career, a decent set of friends and a comfortable popularity is ok. But what about them?

Happiness we once felt becomes content, a mediocre feeling where aspiration overwhelms us

Facebook pings and Instagram hearts have all but distracted us from reality, monotony is frowned upon and the highlights are all that matter. But for every 356 days, a highlight reel can negate 250+ of those days for failing to match up. You feel like a failure when you’re not making an even comparison. We have social media to thank for this feeling of disillusionment, where our screen time becomes more important than real life experience.

We’re all guilty of it, that before bed scroll that puts you to sleep with thoughts of what if. Alternate scenarios of wealth and style where you see yourself in the position of that blogger or living a plush playboy life. Happiness we once felt becomes content, a mediocre feeling where aspiration overwhelms us. On the smiley face scale we’re barely showing teeth, but two years ago this is everything we ever wanted. And then some.

For every photo posted think of those in the discard pile, the bad angles, poor lighting and unfit poses. That simple breakfast was most likely arduously prepared to gain a tap or two from you. Without our attention, our captivation they’re just buskers in the street, begging for a little heart. And like that street performer they’ll pull out all stops, but you still have the power to walk away. Whenever you like.

You don’t have to delete your apps, cull your friends or even purge who you follow. But you may want to consider just how ecstatic another person would be with what you deem to be content with. Are you unhappy or are your just in need of a little expectation management? A little perspective could be just the mood booster you need. And you won’t need that Snapchat filter to mask a single thing anymore.

Image source: WP Engine.

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