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Finch 1 Lainey Finch Malcolm Campbell English 1102 8 April 2014 The Truth about Love and Happiness


Todays society puts a seriously large amount of pressure on the importance of being in a relationship/finding loveespecially towards women. It is deemed that being in a relationship or finding Mr. Right is the ultimate key to happiness for women, which I definitely think is arguable. Whether it be pressure from the media, or predisposed opinions being forced onto you by family members or friends, there is more to life than finding love. Clearly you need love in your life, but love can (surprisingly, to some) still be received from family and friends. Believe it or not, you can still live a happy and fulfilling life without being in a relationship. The media is certainly a strong factor to blame for the belief that women NEED a man in their lives to be happy. Take into consideration the shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Both of these shows depict what true love is and how one lucky man or woman will find that love by the end of the season. It is either a group of women pining after one man like a group of wolves chasing their prey, or one woman who is searching for Mr. Right and believes he is somewhere in a group of men who she gets to know for maybe a month tops. Both shows are doing such a poor job of trying to encapsulate what love is, and how at the end the women will be oh so happy and their lives will be tons better once they have found their man. I have never been a contestant on the show, so in maybe in some of the shows seasons true love has been found. Online reports show that out of the twelve years the shows have been airing, there are only five successful relationships to date. The report on wetpaint.com states, So,

Finch 2 while the couples who meet on TV arent necessarily made to last, since 6-8 weeks to get to know someone in a group setting before getting engaged isnt very realistic, perhaps not all is lost (Wayne). They then proceed to mention the success rate of the shows publicity as if its importance reigns over that of the relationships. These shows as well as other factors of the media have their ideas of love and how it can be achieved, when really their ultimate goal is to make money off of it, rather than helping people find love. On the PBS webpage, there is a link that is basically depicting all the aspects of happiness. There is a section labeled We tend to overestimate the importance of life circumstances in how happy we are, and it states, We think if only we had more money, or a better job, or fell in love, that we would be happier. And we sometimes underestimate how much control we have over our own happiness. Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, analyzed studies and reports that 50% of our happiness is set by our genes, 10% by life circumstances beyond our control, and 40% by our own actions. This study is proof that there is more to happiness than the aspects provided by a relationship or falling in love (Lyubomirsky). Obviously it falls into part of a statistic, but it is not the one defining variable that makes you happy. Some sites use studies to trick us into finding love. For instance, on eHarmony they have a title on a page that says, Love and Happiness: Loneliness Sucks. They are trying to get money by convincing anyone who may be feeling a little down that finding true love on their website will make them so much happier and their life will be so much better after they do so. They then back it up with some psychological proof that if you find love/a relationship you will live a super happy life. It is just frustrating that so many people actually believe this. There is so much more to life than finding someone else to fulfill it for you.

Finch 3 By posing this argument, I probably seem like someone who is against anything dealing with love or relationships, which is not true at all. I just see that there is more to life than pining for love and affection. When the right person comes along, all will be well. But, I am not going to sit around feeling as though my life is not complete until I meet a guy that is magically going to complete it. There is so much pressure in todays society for everyone to find love. I know that I am specifically talking about women here, but the pressure is extended to everyone. The focus just seems to be more so on females. Everything is society seems to depict how lonely women are until they find a man. Media such as TV and Movies, as well as magazine articles are constantly trying to show women how they can find their man and be happy. I just want society to realize that there is so much more to a womans happiness and self-worth than finding love, because ultimately there is. A lot of the reason that people depend on their happiness to be determined from a functioning romantic relationship is due to the fact that individuals seeking romance usually have fairly high expectations. These expectations are not always met or exceeded, which generally leads to despair and disappointment. The following is stated in a study on the satisfaction in romantic relationships, People often have prior expectations of what they believe the relationship should be like. For example, some people expect highly rewarding relationships, so outcomes have to be particularly positive for them to be satisfied. (Miller & Tedder). This study is helping support and explain the claim that many people have such high expectations when it comes to finding love and a relationship, so they are often disappointed because what they are expecting does not match the actual outcome of what is happening in said relationships. A level of happiness can then be determined based upon the failed expectations of a relationship. Which is ultimately why one should not expect all of their happiness to come from a working

Finch 4 relationship. So many other factors play into ones happiness, and it should not just be determined from finding love. Other factors of life are just as satisfying, as I previously stated. Gender role expectations also play a big factor in relationships, and determining ones happiness. A website that discusses Ascended Relationships has an article on Mens Expectations versus Womens expectations in Relationships. These expectations are usually derived from the different gender roles placed onto society in pertinence to romantic relationships. According to the article, men typically expect women to stay consistently the same throughout the duration of the relationship, meaning they must always look absolutely stunning, maintain the same figure, etc. Meanwhile, women have a better ability of being able to see a mans full potential, but some men never live up to their full potential which is usually a disappointment to the women of the relationships (Castaner). This article suggests the same idea that the study does. The expectations of relationships are getting in the way of a happy and healthy relationship, that ultimately spawn a state of disappointment. These gender roles and expectations are hindering society in the way society as a whole view relationships, as well as how their happiness is determined. These expectations need to either be lowered to a more realistic standard, or forgotten completely. Looking at these various articles and studies, it is clear that there is more to leading a life of happiness than the dependence on a romantic relationship. This dependency leads to disappointment and unhappiness because expectations are set too high and not metresulting in a sense of emptiness. Looking at another article entitled Your Choices Determine Your Happiness by Keith Harrell we are able to delve into the other aspects of life that can determine ones happiness besides romance. It is actually our own individual choices that help us reach a sense of happiness. In his article he says that the quality of our lives is determined by the various

Finch 5 choices we make and the lifestyle we embrace. We ultimately have the same responsibility and power to choose our attitude and approach to life which can lead to a life of happiness if we choose wisely (Harrell). If you combine the components from the blog, study, and various articles we have researched into we can conclude that there are so many different aspects that determine our happiness and self-worth aside from romantic involvement. If we look past the assumed gender roles, expectations, and other aspects society places onto romantic relationships we can see that these different components hold us back from being as happy as possible. You must be the own decider of your happiness, and if you invest all of yourself into another person or a romantic relationship you will almost always be disappointed in the end. A lot of our happiness is determined by our genes. One of the worlds top experts on the science of happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky, discusses the different factors in a video. According to studies conducted, half of our happiness is determined by our genes. The other percentages are formed from our life circumstances (ten percent) and our intentional activity (forty percent). Lyubomirsky confirms that our life circumstances such as relationships are not that high of a determining factor of our happiness. A much higher percentage comes from our intentional activityso we must be more intentional in our actions pertaining to our happiness. Happiness is essentially a choice, so you must not sit around waiting for another individual to bring it to you. Youve got to be proactive in deciding what makes you happy as an individual. For some, finding love may be part of that forty percent, but it does not absolutely have to be. I think a lot of people also tend to overlook the fact that friendships are usually extremely important in determining happiness. Most people assume that romantic relationships are the key to happiness, but friendships are still huge. In an article from the US News, reporter Amanda Gardner discusses how childhood friendships could very well be the key to adult happiness.

Finch 6 Studies show that there is a strong relationship between being well adjusted as a child and being well adjusted as an adult. It says, What we do as adults and how we approach life has been established in our childhood. If we had a healthy happy childhood, we are more likely to recreate those patterns as adults. So, establishing strong friendships as a child and finding happiness through those is likely to carry through adulthood. Romantic relationships are not the only relationships that factor into our happiness. Happiness is a part of life that is influenced by tons of different factors. Hopefully after inquiring about this topic, people will look at this and have a better understanding of all the different components of happiness. People tend to be misinformed on just what it is that is causing us to be happy. It appeared to me that many people believe that romantic relationships are a very strong factor in deciding happiness. Different factors in society put a lot of pressure on love, and how it is one of the main things that make us as individuals happy. Through research, this has proven to be wrong. Many other factors in life help determine happiness, a lot of which we must decide on our own. Just because I may disagree with the fact that romantic relationships are a main source of happiness does not mean they do not factor into our happiness. Society just needs to place less emphasis on the idea that women are not happy if they are not in a relationship, and lower the expectations that go along with what is expected in a relationship. Everyone deserves happiness, but everyone also needs to be better informed on what can bring happiness.

Finch 7 Works Cited

Castaner, Gustavo. "Men Expectations Vs. Women Expectations in Relationships."Ascended Relationships. Golden Ratio Consulting LLC., 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2014. Harrell, Keith. "Your Choices Determine Your Happiness." SUCCESS. SUCCESS Magazine, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2014. Lyubomirsky, Sonja. "Greater Good." What Determines Happiness? The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, July 2010. Web. 8 Mar. 2014. Miller, Jessica, and Brandi Tedder. The Discrepancy Between Expectations and Reality: Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships. Hanover College: Fall 2011. PDF. Wayne, Julia. How Many Bachelor and Bachelorette Couples Actually Make It? Wetpaint. N.p., 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 8 Apr. 2014