This is a loaded question because everyone pursues happiness. It’s built into our psychological makeup to desire a happy, fulfilling, and satisfying life. No one purposely pursues unhappiness. Yet, many of the choices we make and the emotions we cultivate diminish our capacity for happiness. Here are a few examples of destructive emotions:
1. Envy. When I perceive another person has a superior possession, quality, or achievement and focus on my desire for it or my desire that they lose it, this is a negative emotion that will rob me of happiness.
2. Resentment. Mirriam-Webster defines this as “a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.” See here. This emotion can become obsessive and has obvious negative consequences for my capacity for satisfaction in life.
3. Unforgiveness. To forgive is to acknowledge someone has wronged me and decide to free them from responsibility, as if the wrong never occurred. It’s not forgetting, for that is impossible. Forgiveness does say “I do not hold you responsible.” Unforgiveness continues to punish the offender (even if in my own head and heart) for the perceived wrong. Unforgiveness is perhaps the greatest obstacle to happiness.
All of these represent a failure to love. We withhold love from certain persons because we believe they don't deserve love. And if we examine another life close enough we’ll find ample evidence to reinforce our belief. So, we chose not to love. Our blind spot is the belief that we, ourselves, deserve love. If we applied the same standard to ourselves we would soon find that we, too, are undeserving. The good news is that deserving love is not one of the considerations for God to offer love. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 ESV). God loves proactively.
Proactive love leads to our own happiness and the helps inspire happiness in others. Am I pursuing happiness? I am if I am practicing proactive love, the kind of love God shows me.