This sugar coated world is just filled with unhappiness. Every turn you take, all you ever see is globs sadness and it feels like there’s no escaping it. People advertise different methods to become happy or even live a better life after you’ve died. And for some it might just work! But about the people who are still left without answers? What about the minority of people that feels like nothing can help them? Existentialism offers some valuable insight that could solve your problem.
So you’re probably asking like why would this be any different? With other philosophies people are always telling you what to do. Founders and followers of said philosophies are sharing the methods that worked for them in hopes that you could also benefit from it. But in reality everyone is different. Different lifestyles and experiences make it complicated to find one solution for large groups of people. In a nutshell, existentialism says to do whatever that you feel gives your life purpose because you know yourself best and no one else does. You should tell yourself what to do because it’s in your best interests. Only you can live your life to the fullest because it’s specifically tailored to you. One person’s definition of living life to fullest may be partying until the sunrise and another person working until retirement. They work perfectly for that specific person and them only, but not for anyone else. Similarly with philosophies, they come from people who have lived very different lives than you. Some of these beliefs are a few thousand years old and may not work for your modern lifestyle. And at the same time it may work! It is just dependent on how you perceive your purpose in life and if you are happy with it.
A few months ago, my English teacher decided to have a day where we would go outside and play. Board games, chalk, basketball, you name it. It was to show the importance of play in the development of a child and it was one of the better days I’ve had at school. Starting off school by playing with chalk and talking to my friends was such a relaxing and stress free way to start my day. I liked it much more than doing school work and getting bored or sleepy. But with the play day I realized how I could actually enjoy school a little more when I got to make my own decisions. When I could do what made me happy. However, this was just a one day thing. Other people have decided for me that I should start my school day at 8:00 AM in the morning and end my day at 2:30 PM. Nothing about this schedule brings me happiness at all. I’m always sleepy in the morning and then after school or after practice I grow sleepy because of my lack of sleep the night before. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep which is why I don’t get as much sleep as I should. And because of this I rarely ever feel good. On the same topic, this week we had an altered schedule because of SBAC (standardized state) testing. I literally came to school at 10 AM and it was the most amazing thing ever. I went to sleep happy knowing I could sleep in and I woke up energized. I would much rather have this schedule because I actually felt good physically for the first time in a while. But unfortunately, I cannot choose when I get to go to school and this goes to show that an individual knows themselves best and no one else does. Adults have said starting school at 8 AM is fine but they don’t know how I feel and how it affects me. If I was able to be even a little more flexible with my schedule I would be a lot happier.
In class, we read the novel Siddhartha. The main character, Siddhartha, son of a Brahmin, realizes the lifestyle his father has taught him has not brought him happiness so he leaves in search of happiness. This is just another example where only you can give your life purpose and ultimately happiness because it’s your life. Siddhartha knew what brought him happiness, not his father. But, this novel also shows the unrestricted side of endless freedom. Be warned! Freedom also requires self control. This book also displays how a lack of self control can let your freedom turn into an uncontrollable cancer. Siddhartha becomes addicted to gambling and loses all of his fortunes in the process. Without self control, one might go too far and end up being even more unhappy.
So what can you take away? Your happiness is dependent on you, but your happiness can be derived from a variety of sources. Whether it’s doing the things you love or doing certain things because you love others, at the end of the day it’s still your own happiness. Just keep in mind that your happiness belongs to you and you only.
2 thoughts on “Unhappy?”
Hello! I really liked your anecdote about your dissatisfaction with your school schedule. I also have to wake up early to go to school, and I can empathize with your frustration about people dictating our lives without taking personal needs into consideration. However, I’m glad that the school is pushing our schedule next year to start a little later. 🙂
This is a wonderful article. Nice job! 🙂
I love the way you connected all the different topics we learned in this module into this post. Your idea of using existentialism to find your own happiness was really creative. I feel like a lot of people, including me, could relate to being unhappy at certain times in our lives and your post could really help someone by opening their eyes to a new mindset.