Word of the day

No one left to blame

We want to be happy, and we try to build a life where we feel satisfied, safe and happy as much as possible. We travel on holiday, eat good food, ski, drink, hang out with friends, shop, follow the fashion scene and watch movies and series that entertain us.

And we know that happiness cannot exist without also feeling sadness, pain, boredom or dissatisfaction. It is not possible to be happy all the time. But why are there so many who are unhappy? Who struggles with themselves, or who does not cope with everyday life?

One theory I find incredibly interesting is the "no-one-left-to-blame theory".

It means that if you are having a hard time, but live in a country with a corrupt government or a lot of injustice, then it is easy to explain why you are having a hard time. "It's the fault of the authorities", "It's the fault of the criminal gangs" etc.…

But if you - like us - live in a country with free education, free health care, a high degree of equality, well-paid jobs and generally a high degree of security, then there is no one else to blame but yourself if you do not have it Good. We are told that "you have every opportunity". So if you do not succeed, it must mean that…

When you can not blame someone else, whose fault is it then if you are in pain? It's easy to think that it's your own fault. Society is built around success stories. The best moments are carefully selected and posted online. We upload the correct profile picture and if we have not done something that is "good enough" right now, we post throwbacks to trips or concerts we have been to before. We only see success and "peaks". And when everyone pretends to be happy, there will be fewer and fewer people to blame if you are not happy. So that must mean that…?

I think that means we have to lower our expectations.

We need to share more everyday life - or less summit hikes and palm beaches. We must live between the highlights, and we must know that life consists of bread with yellow cheese, bills, laundry and uneventful evenings. And it's not your fault - it's just the way it should be. And that's how everyone has it between bigger and smaller peaks.

I hope that it is the folk high school everyday life you miss now. Drinking coffee in the fireplace. To be bored together. Eating bread with yellow cheese. Morning gathering with messages and song. All the everyday things you take for granted.

If you value this, then you do not have to blame yourself or others.

Read or hear more about happiness in the podcast Freakonomics.

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