Friday, August 19, 2022

Seeking approval


We crave the approval of others. This seems to be part of the human condition. Everyone wants to be liked. And what better signs of approval are there than applause, or trophies, or certificates? We finish our performance and glow as the crowd claps their hands. We adorn our shelves with our hard won trophies, and decorate our walls with certificates that prove our worthiness. All symbols of approval.

But after the crowd leaves the auditorium, their applause is nothing but a memory - an echo lost in time. Our certificates fade in the sun, slowly degrading to nothing. And our trophies tarnish as the universe inevitably moves towards maximum entropy.

What does this tell us? Should we not seek the approval of others? Not at all. We need social relationships, and approval is better than disapproval or mere disinterest. But we should put things in perspective. We should be the best person we can be regardless of awards or applause. Those things do not last, and a life pursuing them for their own sake will never bring contentedness. After all, there's always another certificate to be hung on the wall. But how many are required for fulfillment? How many will make us truly happy? Do they really matter?

Perhaps we should remind ourselves that happiness can be found in our actions rather than the pieces of paper people give us.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Buying Happiness


We spend so much time focusing on material possessions. We constantly check our bank balance. We visit the mall and online shopping stores, carefully scrutinizing products, searching for something... anything that will bring some fulfillment and help fill the void in our lives. But how often do we find that after the initial thrill of the purchase, after that dopamine hit has worn off, the product loses its luster?
 


Perhaps the product itself was not what we were actually looking for.

What, then, are we really searching for? Not pieces of plastic. Not pieces of fabric. Not little screens full of icons. These things, in and of themselves, seem hollow. It seems that the thing we really want can't be found in a store. But what is this thing we seek? When we ask ourselves why we buy products, our answer usually refers to "happiness". And, of course, happiness itself is not for sale, so that's why we think we should buy other things to get it. 

But does happiness actually come from these things? Or does it come from somewhere else? If it doesn't come from the products we purchase, it is no surprise that we are constantly seeking more product. We're never getting what we truly want.

Of course, we do need food, drink, and shelter. These things sustain us and put us in a position to seek happiness. And they can be bought at the store. But because happiness itself can't be bought, and because it doesn't come from the products we buy, we need to find it somewhere other than the store. But where?

Take a walk in the park or sit in the sun. Maybe go out one night and gaze at the starry sky. Take time; relax; contemplate. You may accidentally find that you no longer need to search the store for this elusive thing we call "happiness".