- “As we all know-or should know-we can’t aim straight for happiness; rather, happiness is an accompaniment to engaging in valuable projects and developing meaningful connections with others.”
There’s a guy in Philadelphia who dresses up as Hulk Hogan; full out costume; doesn’t cut any corners; yellow mustache, bandana, and even an authentic WWF Championship belt.
The first time I saw him, he came barreling through Starbucks front doors, pausing, and then slowly raising his belt in the air with one hand, shouting “Hell yeah, BROTHER!!!”
You could tell that he was having a hard time staying in character, as he couldn’t hide this huge smile breaking through.
He had no inhibitions holding him back; some might call him an idiot, others might say he’s just socially unaware, or that he’s mentally disabled; personally, I’d just say he’s happy.
(I wish I had a picture of the guy, but, here’s an awesome example of this: link)
Far too many of us are imprisoned by these socially constructed inhibitions that are doing nothing but holding us back from experiencing happiness. And, because of these unwritten rules holding us back we fear judgment, we fear rejection, and/or what others would think of us if they found out this or that…. so, we hide; we wear masks; we pretend to be someone we’re not; as a result we then feel lonely; which leads to depression and anxiety from the weight of not just hiding, but constantly having to be performing and pretending to be someone we’re not.
Why I’m Not Married…
Which reminds me of the question I’m most often emailed: “Why are you not married?” And, my answer is simple: it’s better to be single than married to the wrong person, for forever… far too many of us, especially within the Evangelical circles, have bought into this idea that if you get married, you’ll have defeated loneliness; for the younger folks reading this, and, for the older, far more knowledgeable folks who can attest to this, please know and be reminded of the fact that some of the loneliest people in our world are married people .
You don’t aim to get married, you aim at finding the right person and/or healthy relationships. And, as a result of these marriage may come about; similarly, with happiness, I think Jon G. Allen says it best, “[as] we can’t aim straight for happiness; rather, happiness is an accompaniment to engaging in valuable projects and developing meaningful connections with others.”
And, when they gets exhausting and the pain of existing becomes overbearing in comes the addictions.
Heroin Addictions: What’s Your “Heroin”?
I hate to disappoint but, I’m not a heroin addict; although, I did recently read an article on addictions; more specifically on heroine addictions. Using decades of research the author broke down the theory in that addictions to heroine are not primarily the result of your brain being chemically hijacked; he went on to say that the addictions stem primarily from what he labeled as disconnection; that is, loneliness or isolation.
It’s easy for us to look in and judge or pity those who struggle with these addictions; while for those of us looking in at those who struggle with addictions to what some might label as the harder types of drugs, we should remember that we all have our vices, coping mechanisms, and figurative versions of our own types of “bottles” we use to unhealthily nurse our pain or reality away; we all have something we use as a crutch to maintain “normalcy.”
For instance, salt…
It’s said that more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity; 1 out of 3 people in the U.S. will die due to heart disease; half of adults in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes… so, you and I might not be addicted to cocaine or heroin, but, if you ask me, with these statistics in mind, salt has been far more damaging than any other traditional “hardcore” drug.
I’ve learned to not even bother anymore with the statistics on depression, anxiety, and various other mental illnesses; mainly because they’re warped. A vast majority of people are either lying or are on some type of prescriptive medication, doping, or addicted to some unidentified [aforementioned] type of coping mechanism.
And, of course there are exceptions, but lets be honest here…
My Point Being: There’s the “Hulk Hogans” of our world and then there’s everybody else…
At this point you’re probably wondering what my point is; or, how Hulk Hogan, heroin addictions, and marriage have anything to do with whatever it is I’m talking about…
It’s insane how many people have unknowingly jumped into a marriage, attached to a group of people, or stayed in a miserable job out of fear, in order to fit in, or to please and/or impress others… It’s as if our lives are dictated and unknowingly controlled by the thoughts, ideas, and expectations of others imposed upon us.
This is in part why I seemingly left the Church, walking away from my career. It seemed as if a pre-requisite for being a part of those communities was “Intro to Theater 101.”
As many of us have realized over the years, looking back at our time we’ve come to realize we didn’t leave the Church, we just left those types of Churches we weren’t a good fit in. I’m convinced that a vast majority of the people within these communities didn’t fit either; they just stayed because it’s what deceivingly appears to be easier.
What Are You Running From…?
This might seem like it’s coming out of left field, but, I want to leave you with a handful of questions, starting with the question of, “What is it that you’re running from?”
At the heart of your answer to this question are the reasons as to why you’re staying in a place that doesn’t make you happy.
Is it the fear of not being able to find something better (e.g. a job, a school, a boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.)? The idea that who you are is not enough (so you stay in a certain environment instead of raising yourself to that next level )? If you left this environment, person, or space you wouldn’t be able to make it on your own?
It’s when we stop running from and start the process of running to our lives truly begin once again.
At risk of coming across blasphemous, the same thing that made Jesus happy (assuming He was), is the same thing that I feel, think and believe to be what made the guy dressed up as “Hulk Hogan” happy, knowing what would bring meaning into their lives, and then doing just that; regardless of what other people thought.