Why Does our Society Lack Joy?Sep 01, 2022
We live in a world that doesn’t prioritize your happiness. Rather, our quality of life is often linked to how productive we are, how much money we’re able to make, and how many material possessions we own. Your job gives you the means to live your life, but the truth of the matter is that you’re selling your free time. Shouldn’t the remainder of your free time be spent living a joyful life?
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in 2017, Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults. This is about 7.1% of the US population ages 18 and older. Diving deeper, over 700,000 people die due to suicide each year (World Health Organization, 2022). It’s heart-wrenching to confront the idea that the world we live in doesn’t care about the quality of our lives. This country is battling a mental health crisis, and our leaders aren’t doing enough to combat it.
Even those who don’t suffer from mental health issues have an uphill battle when it comes to feeling joy. From my experience, many people live their lives by simply going through the motions. You wake up, go to work, come home, and attempt to decompress for the few free hours you have before going to bed, waking up, and starting the cycle over. Your job and career don’t have to leave you feeling empty, and in fact they shouldn’t. Our lives don’t have to feel like we’re watching reruns of the same day, using our time and energy just to get by without truly living.
But how do we change our mindset about our work/life balance? How do we break free of the system that’s been engineered to keep most of us under its thumb, struggling to get by? The cold hard truth is this system, this society, was never designed for you or me. Those who occupy the area at the top of the pyramid don’t want to share their space. Netflix’s series Explained has a great episode on billionaires, and how our economic systems are designed. This episode explores how an individual’s vast accumulation of wealth affects the world at large. These systems we operate in are designed to have a functioning “slave class” whose labor produces billionaires. You can watch the episode here.
So, how does the average person find it within themselves to strive for happiness in a system that doesn’t want you to be happy? After all, if you’re happy and content with your life, you don’t need to buy the newest material item to satisfy that voice inside your head. If you’re happy and content with your life, you aren’t jealous of those around you for having things you don’t. If you’re happy and content with your life, you can’t be controlled.
People who experience true joy know the secret. Once you cast away these ideas of what your life should be, you get to experience everything your life can be. And the most powerful secret is that joy, happiness, all of those good feelings that make life worth living… come from within. You don’t have to look outwardly for affirmation once you come to terms with the fact that the only true validation comes from yourself. Now, none of this is to say that depression can be cured with a simple change of mindset. Rather, we need our entire society to change. We need to realize that misconceptions about joy are preventing us from achieving it. Imagine how much better our world would be if we prioritized pure, unadulterated kindness joy as opposed to wealth, power, or status.
Cultivating Joy is the first educational series by Love Conscious Human. This course is designed to change your mindset and misconceptions about joy, and ultimately raise your state of being. You can find out more about Cultivating Joy and Love Conscious Human here.