Happiness Shouldn’t Be the Default

One of my favorite things to contemplate is from the book “Unlearn” by the wonderful, Humble the Poet. If I remember correctly, this point comes from one of the first few chapters in the book (but they are all extremely enlightening and you should definitely read the entire book). He makes the point that happiness isn’t supposed to last forever because if it did, how would we ever know what happiness felt like?

Woah- isn’t happiness supposed to be what we strive for?

I flipped that thought around and thought about depression. Am I actually depressed all the time or is that just my default state of mind? Ive been depressed. Ive been depressed for long periods of time and have had to seek a lot of help for my depression but am I depressed right now? Probably not. I’m just so used to saying and believing that I am depressed so it has become my natural state of mind. Will I be depressed again in the future? Sure. Will I need to seek intensive help again in the future? Never say never. Depression is a chronic illness. But it is very easy to confuse contentment with depression.. or even happiness if that is all you know. It may be depression. It may be happiness. I don’t live inside your brain so I can’t answer that for you. I am only speaking from my own experiences. Right now, I am not depressed and when it comes back in the future, I will know exactly what it feels like.

As far as not being happy all the time in order to know what true happiness feels like- this may be an unpopular opinion among some of the people in my life but I agree with Humble. The biggest question I have run into with the belief of this philosophy is “why wouldn’t you want to be happy all the time?” Let me leave you with this: if I felt the same way the first time one of my posts got a few thousand views or the day I fulfilled my lifelong dream of standing on a glacier, that wouldn’t be very satisfying now would it? So yes. Happiness is what we strive for but it should be a motivator and something to look forward to and cherish. There is nothing wrong with being content.


  1. I love this so much. It’s so true. You cannot experience true joy without understanding the depths of despair. And (if I may fangirl over you), I’m honored to have been the person who stood on a glacier with you. It was one of the highlights of my life and I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anyone else.

    • And we wouldn’t have known how spectacular that experience was if we had never known what we overcame to make that happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *