top of page

Opinion | The Killer Obsession with Happiness

Author: Jordan G Estabrook

There’s something that’s been picking at my mind for several weeks. I thought it’d be best to get it on paper and see what happens (cue online ridicule!).

I was recently talking to a pastor who’s known me since I was a teenager- braces and all, man.

It was a quick chat, but somehow, we landed on marriage and discussed an important idea: holiness over happiness.

Of course, this idea is not unique to this particular pastor of mine. It’s made the rounds before, but it struck a chord with me. It encapsulated all my frustrations with my generation and yes, even myself.

We value our happiness more than the refinement of our character.

Happiness is when you see a movie or have a nice time at a theme park. Or maybe it’s the person you’re with. They just make you happy. It’s nice, right? Right.

I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s terribly deep though. It’s pretty surface level. Once that thing is done, you have to move on to the next thing to make your heart flutter a bit.

Happiness is like candy. It’s one thing to have a couple pieces, but it’s another thing when you make it your whole diet. You can’t maintain a life of always doing fun or interesting things that make you happy. It’s not real life.

And that’s what I fear the most. My generation, somewhere in between Gen Z and Millennials, wants to eat candy for every meal. We bring this into our relationships, friendships and jobs, but my main point of concern is relationships.

“He doesn’t make me happy anymore, so I’m leaving.”

“She doesn’t meet all my needs.”

“If he’d fix all his issues, maybe we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems.”

When happiness becomes a god, it latches on to the thing, or in this case person, that’s supposed to make us happy. And then, it fails us. Instead of working with their flaws and issues (though not recommended in cases of verbal and/or physical abuse), we get up and go. As a result, we miss a key opportunity to grow, be sanctified and be made more in the image of Christ.

I know that not everyone who reads this is practicing Christianity, but the principle still stands - growth is what creates beauty.

Happiness is shallow. It has no roots. It can be found with anyone and anywhere.

But growing pains create roots. Both of you recognizing, owing and correcting your flaws takes work. It takes you deeper than happiness ever could.

Sadly, we take this mentality with us not just into our relationships, but into our marriages. And we scratch our heads and wonder why we failed. Marriage is built on selflessness. It’s hard to build that foundation when you’re so focused on your happiness.

And so here we are. We’re left like little children on the ground, with crusty chocolate on our lips, with a bowl full of empty wrappers. Sad, sick, and somehow still wanting more.

As a society, we have to make a decision: chase happiness until we’re in the ground or endure some pain and suffering for the joy that it produces.

The choice is yours.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of Resident Skeptics.

48 views0 comments


bottom of page