Possibly the bigger truth is simply the fact that we work hard at making ourselves unhappy. We look for complex solutions to simple problems and we create complex problems by overlooking simple solutions. Entirely unaware of our constant stream of irrational and critical self-talk, we impose unrealistic expectations on ourselves based on inaccurate and unhealthy comparisons of our self to others. We expend a vast amount of emotional and physical energy experiencing a plethora of unpleasant emotions (e.g. anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, shame) as the result of unconscious adherence to established rules and beliefs. We react by searching outside of our self for the illusionary "something" that we believe will make us happy.
When you look to material goods, physical pleasures, and other people to "make" you feel good, these external sources of pleasure and comfort only momentarily sustain you. You need to continue acquiring more material goods, more physical pleasures, and more external rewards to recreate these pleasant feelings. Without a clear sense of purpose, you continue to search outside of your self for what you believe will make you happy. Realize instead that what you need is to go within, to connect with your inner self, and to give of your spirit.
Essentially, we could learn a thing or two from the Tibetan monks who have consciously chosen to live a highly simplified but yet conscious existence.
Creating authentic happiness begins by focusing within. Carefully examine your life as it presently is. What are you aware of? What do you feel gratitude for? What is the source of your happiness now? Does your awareness force you to re-examine how you're living your life?
Daily Practice: Observing My Current State of Happiness
Answer the following questions from a place of intuitive wisdom rather than using your analytic (thinking) brain. Do this by acknowledging the initial answer that you feel, rather than the answer you think is right.