Take a moment to read this short list of emotional words:
Only one of those words makes sense, doesn't it? Unhappy.
It's the only emotional word that we attached the prefix "un" to. My newsletter spellchecker wanted me to correct the others.
Why do we do that? Why is that the only one who gets the 1984-style reverse-word treatment?
It’s simple. Because those of us speaking the English language believe that happiness is the ultimate success, emotionally-speaking, and therefore needs it’s own separate antonym to describe the failure to achieve this goal.
One thing I want to get across to you today is that the idea that happiness is the ultimate emotion, and that being unhappy is the ultimate failure, is nothing but social conditioning. It is simply not true.
There’s no evidence to back up the claim that it’s better to feel happiness than other emotions, or that it’s even possible to feel happiness more frequently than other emotions.
There are cultures out there who don't consider happiness to be a big deal, and don't pursue it in the needy Western way that most of us do. Especially tribal cultures that haven't been civilized. Until you’ve been socially conditioned, you’ll naturally treat all emotions as deserving of their rightful place in your experience.
Happiness-worship came from a weird self-help movement in the 70s and 80s where happiness was made into this big deal, but it's actually completely unnatural for a human to be happy all the time, and impossible anyway.
So pursuing happiness is just ridiculous. Be unhappy. It's fine. You don’t have a choice anyway.
For more on this topic, check out my longer video “How to Manage Your Emotions”: