Change Catalyst with Shanna Mann: Strategy & Support for Sane Self-Employment

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Perfect Happiness is Bullshit. You can quote me.

I was going to talk about something else today but I changed my mind. I can do that. Because I’m like that (more on that on Friday).

I read my friend Scribbles’ post on happiness (even cantankerous hermits like to ponder the meanings and methods of happiness I guess.)

I was struck by two things. One, that people think that you must be “perfectly” happy for it to “count,” and two, that people seem to see happiness as a competition, a zero sum game, in fact, where people are only happy relative to how unhappy the people around them are.

This is bullshit.

I mean, how screwed up is it that, in the comments, I apologized for being a naturally happy person? Seriously? I’ve actually (and I did do this more-or-less consciously) hidden my basic contentedness, so as not to appear to be rubbing it in the faces of those less fortunate.

My happiness does not depend on my relative good fortune over those around me (that would include people who think that if they could only be rich, famous, good-looking or have a better job that they would be happy). I am happy because I’m happy.

There have been times in my life when I have been less happy than I am now, and perhaps also times when I have been more happy, but the happy is pretty constant. It’s an outlook, not a possession.

Also? This has nothing to do with other people. This has to do with how happy I am with myself. If you’re not happy with yourself, you’re not happy. Please feel free to argue this point with me; it’s an empirical theory, but by no means a proven one. If you’re not happy with yourself, and yet you are happy, please explain how that works. You can even email me. I really want to know.

And what the hell is “perfectly happy”? That’s a bullshit term if I ever heard one. As far as I’m concerned, “happy” is a relative term, not an absolute one. And even if it was, look at the way people misuse words like “unique” and “absolute”


You know what this is? This is out-and-out perfectionism. The perfect being the mortal fucking enemy of the good.

I see that with people and their health, too. They get a headache, they have a pain; a sniffly nose, a sore throat. ohnoes! I’m sick! Call the doctor! Quick, get me to the pharmacy!

Discomfort is not fatal. Imperfect happiness barely registers as a problem. You’re causing your own goddamn problems by demanding perfection. Why is this? Inferiority complex? The media skewing what you think you want? It doesn’t matter. It’s curable.

Get in touch with contentment. What does it feel like? Is it transient? Good. No reason why it should stick around.

Then, catch the next wave. It’s always there, you just have to get in sync with it. You’ll probably notice that some things you thought would make you happy, didn’t. That just means you’re not sufficiently in touch with what you really want.

I like ice cream, but when I eat it, it doesn’t taste good. So I don’t eat ice cream. When I want ice cream, I’ve come to realize it’s because I want a treat, I want to feel like I deserve a treat. And so I let myself feel that way. And, sometimes, I make myself a mocha latte too. Because I deserve it.

There are lots of ways that the things we think we want only symbolize something else. Usually, that something else is fairly close at hand and readily available. Try it and see.

And leave a comment. Because I swore a lot in this one, and if nobody comments I’ll think I scared you all off.