You might be surprised but actually not everyone pursues happiness. Buddhists for example are not concerned with pursuing happiness because they believe that happiness, like all emotions, comes and goes. For them pursuing happiness is a lost cause and only results in fleeting joy. They try to be equanimous – accepting of all things (from the word equinimity: eveness of mind or temper about all things).
The Budha believed that all suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We crave happiness, love, money, sex, warmth etc. and we have an aversion to pain, suffering, cold, lonliness, etc. He believed it is this constant seeking or avoiding that causes us to suffer.
Nothing, of itself, is good or bad, only your judgement makes it so (this is not the same as advocating amorailty but this is not the place for that conversation). Shakespeare said the same thing.
One thing that I like about laughter is that it helps you put things in their place – to accept what has happened and laugh it off thereby increasing your equanimity.
A couple of parting thoughts:
- Meditation is very helpful for cultivating equinimity.
- “Anniche” is a budhist term meaning something like “this too will pass”. You might like to remember it next time you are in distress.
- and this from the Dalai Lama:
You’ll find that all human beings are just like you, so you’ll be able to relate to them more easily. That gives you the spirit of friendship. Then there’s less need to hide things, and as a result, feelings of fear, self doubt, and insecurity are automatically dispelled.”