Everyone wants to be happy in life; after all, why would you not want to? But around the world (and most prominently in America as I live here) I feel that there is this incredible pressure to find what makes you happy and to have the perfect life even from a young age. As soon as an American baby is born, parents enter into an implicit obligation to answer any question about their hopes for their baby as, " I don't care what happens, as long as they're happy."
Of course a parent wants their child to be happy, but that also includes their child becoming a star athlete in school, having straight A's in all AP classes, getting into Harvard, acquiring a job in which they will earn over $100,000, and of course finding the perfect spouse and raising a perfect family. In reality, the ideas in which a perfect life can be achieved has been decided, and that child will be expected to achieve all of these things because that must be how they will become happy.
Because everyone apparently has the same ideas of what makes them happy.
Happiness in America has become the overachiever’s ultimate trophy.
This obsessive, driven, relentless pursuit is a characteristically American struggle. Despite being the richest nation on earth, the United States is, according to the World Health Organization, by a wide margin, also the most anxious, with nearly a third of Americans likely to suffer from an anxiety problem in their lifetime. America’s precocious levels of anxiety are not just happening in spite of the great national happiness, but also perhaps, because of it.
I, like many, have experienced this pressure not only from just parents at times, but even from peers, or most importantly, myself, as this is a mindset that seems to be ingrained in all of our brains. I've gone through many experiences in which I was so worried about wanting people to like me or to fit in, whether at school or at a new job, or wondering what others will think of my life. I've felt unhappy and upset with my life because I wasn't the star athlete, or the top student, the most beautiful, or the most popular. I'm going to be a teacher, and I know I won't make much money, and might not have a nice house and car like everyone else wants, because they say that will make you happy.
But that's the problem. Americans judge their happiness on how happy other people think they are, based on all of these ideas that are in our heads, rather than just deciding for oneself how they feel about their life.
If Americans would stop comparing how happy they are to the ultimate successes and perfection that others have forged into a part of our culture, people would be more accepting of each other, less judgmental, and less stressed in hopes of acquiring all of these ideals which are very difficult for the myriad of backgrounds and people in this country.
If we didn't try so hard to be happy, we'd achieve the very state of being we desire so desperately much quicker and more personalized.