People have always strived to be happy. The pinnacle of life seemed to be this concept of joy, elation, absolute contentment with life.
However, there are two key problems to the pursuit of happiness:
a) There is no true point where a human being “attains happiness” — not only will there will always be more to strive for, but happiness as a concept is intangible, and:
b) Whoever is happy will always deep down fear its absence, because happiness is inherently an emotion, and emotions are temporary.
Just by the nature of happiness — that it can be lost—makes even the presence of happiness an uncomfortable state to be in.
There’s also a dangerous precedent that feeds into our lifelong chase of happiness, and that’s the intolerability of negative emotions.
Emotions such as anxiety, sadness, anger, jealousy, are seem villainous in our search for happiness; they are roadblocks to get over and obstacles to get through.
But there is a reason negative emotions evolved alongside positive ones. They serve vital purposes in our lives.
Just as we can feel physical pain and that pain can alert us of issues we need to pay attention to, negative emotions are guides, not barbed wire traps to be avoided at all costs.
Strong negative emotions stem from the same sources as strong positive emotions: things that we care deeply about, and issues that are the most meaningful to us.