Trying Too Hard to Be Happy — Hmmm

Is it possible to just try too hard to be happy? 
 Ruth Shippman, a British citizen of California seems to think so.  In her piece in the NY Times she correlates the effort to be happy with its unintended consequence–anxiety.  She has an interesting perspective.  The British approach to happiness is to, well, not try so hard.  Happiness is not an expectation that everyone needs to focus one all the time. 
She points to the plethora of courses, self-help books, meditation, yoga retreats etc.  It seems as if the harder we try to be happier, the more frustrated and therefore anxious we become.  Perhaps the realization that life can be difficult (an understatement for many) can take the pressure off of those of us who feel that happiness eludes them more than others.  The truth is that we don't know what anyone else is truly feeling.  External factors don't always correlate with inner peace anyway. 
 Now I have written a fair amount about the pursuit of happiness.  I do believe there are techniques and tactics that can assist us in finding a semblance of serenity.  I do believe such personal efforts to understand how our mind influences our state of being can help us do better.  But her point is well taken.  When any goal, however how worthy, becomes obsessional, happiness gives way to its polar opposite.
 Perhaps we can all learn something from her point of view.  If happiness becomes the unexpected result of life's activities, or our achievements, realizations or just a walk in the park, perhaps we can appreciate it more. 
While pursuing happiness, let us give ourselves the right to be unhappy because that is respecting how we feel at that particular time.  There should be no effort to suddenly chastise ourselves or feel like a "happiness failure".  Just observe ourselves feeling that way in the moment and respect that truth.  Self-delusion in the cause of happiness makes no sense.  But understanding the power of nonattachment in those moments releases its grip on us.
No one can force themselves to feel at peace. It is an oxymoron.  On the contrary, only by letting go can serenity filter into our state of awareness. Nonattachment may be the most reasonable path to ultimate happiness, one that recognizes the natural cycles of life and our natural reactions to the events that bring with it emotions and feelings.

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