Brittany Burgunder


?Happiness is elusive. We say we want it, but we don’t know how to find it, accept it, or enjoy it. Ultimately, many of us don’t feel we deserve it. And so, we create a life that’s comfortable, yet also predictable and mundane. There isn’t anything wrong with this. But don’t you think life could be better? Don’t you think you deserve more?

I believe many of us mistake familiarity with contentment and safety, but that’s not entirely accurate. There are many things in life that may become familiar to us, but that does not make them good for us. But we crave safety at our core. If we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for example, we’ll see that the five most important needs that shape an individual’s behavior are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. As you can see, safety is crucial to our development. It’s also where I believe we get stuck.

Misery loves company. It feeds upon itself, and it can become a toxic cycle of addiction. It’s important to note that most individuals don’t actively or consciously choose to be miserable. Rather, they don’t see that they are living in a subpar manner because their actions have become so ingrained. But it’s familiar, it’s safe in its predictability, and it doesn’t require much deep thought. Happiness on the other hand is risky —it’s something valuable we don’t want to forego. And if we do stumble upon happiness, we might not even realize it because it feels wrong, or because we don’t think we deserve it.

Society instills the notion that we should never be satisfied. We can always work harder, look younger, be richer, and feel much happier. So, it makes sense that being happy feels wrong and scary. What if I’m happy, but still have problems? What if I’m happy, but my life doesn’t change? What if I’m happy, but don’t reach my goals? We place happiness on a pedestal, and we place unrealistic pressure on ourselves to be happy in a perfect way. But no such thing exists. Happiness may feel foreign, it may feel scary, and it may feel risky. But in the end, the biggest risk you take is settling for a life far less than what you deserve. ~Britt?

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