A lot of people today aren't happy. And it's their own damn stupid fault--they throw it away with both hands. Reject their happiness with all their strength.
And the reason why is really fucking stupid:
It's because they've allowed profoundly dissatisfied and unhappy people to define happiness. Especially women. Women are really, really bad about letting other people define them, and define what they should want, what should make them happy.
And it usually backfires.
Beyond that, a lot of people have allowed others to define happiness as ecstatic joy at every moment of every hour of every day.
It isn't. The human body and human brain does not maintain that type of emotional intensity, not if it's healthy. Emotional intensity like that will burn you out, and burn you out fast. They found that out with the drug ecstasy--it was initially developed for an entirely different purpose, but then used briefly in marriage counseling before it made its way to the party scene. And then they found that long-term use wrings the parts of the brain that produce feel-good hormones dry.
Happiness--real, sustainable happiness--is better described as contentment and satisfaction. And that...that's actually sneaky. You don't notice contentment while you're actually, y'know, content.
You don't notice it until you've lost it.
I'm absolutely sure that this is the case because most people aren't looking for contentment when they're pursuing happiness. They're looking for the wild, ecstatic joy that they've been told is happiness.
(They really need to listen to Dennis Leary about that.)
So, how do you find contentment? That...that's a lot harder.
It varies. What makes me content won't make you content. The most I can offer you is advice:
Find what you're good at. What makes meaning in your life. I promise it won't be something necessarily fun. It won't be travel, it won't be "gathering experiences." It won't be something where you're focused on yourself.
It will be something else. Something you do for someone else--maybe something you build. Something you volunteer for in your spare time.
I'm a housewife. I build and maintain home for my other half and my kids. That, right there, is not something I necessarily enjoy. Who does? Housework is tedious beyond belief. But having it done? Looking around and knowing that I've done something for my husband and kids? Something to make their lives more comfortable? That brings me a lot of satisfaction, and a lot of contentment.
It gives shape and meaning to my days. More than anything else. More than anything else ever has. More than reading, more than writing, more than teaching.
Yes, I'm looking forward to empty nesting. Because that means I've been successful in my work.
Funny thing is, I've been told all my life that I was meant for more than this. That, in staying home and managing the house, the budget, and the kids, I'm wasting my potential.
If that were truly the case...don't you think I'd be frustrated? Angry? Anxious?
I'm not. Not about being a housewife. No, I was a lot more frustrated and anxious when I had responsibilities outside taking care of my family--because my energy is limited, and I couldn't fulfill all of my responsibilities. Not having a job outside my home means I don't have to neglect my family anymore.
Honestly, I've noted a lot of moms who work outside the home have to drop something. Normally, it's their family responsibilities. And most of them feel guilty about it--and also feel guilty about feeling so torn.
(If there's anything to be grateful for the covidiocy for, it's giving women permission to drop out of the workforce. It's really hard to justify working outside the home when your family's better off by almost every available metric if you don't. And a lot of women discovered their "second income" was more than devoured by child care costs, dinner-out and fast-food costs, and other incidentals their families wouldn't incur if they were working in the home for their families instead of working for someone else outside the home, often doing the same things.)
I don't know how to help others be happy. I can't share the secret of being happy. Every time I do? I get "What? That's it? No, there must be more to it than that."
And there really isn't, but a lot of people have bought into the redefinition of happiness so hard that they can't admit that yes, that is all there is to it.
Anyone telling the general public that you must be joyfully ecstatic all the time to be happy is trying to sell you something, or trying to push something actively harmful, one of the two.