Why Do We Have to 'Be Happy?'

The other day, my friend sent me a long message updating me on her life and mindset. At the end, she said: 

I just want to be happy. 

I would never minimize anyone's pain, but I decided to challenge her on this litany that I hear in my own head, and around me, every day.

I'm finding ways to be happy. I'm looking for happiness. I want a happy life. 

Why is happiness something we have to actively seek?

I responded to her message: "Right now, you might not be able to focus on being happy - you might need to focus on being okay. Which should take such a load off your shoulders - why do we all feel pressure to be happy?" 

Instead of pausing to think, "is this making me happy?" and worrying about the answer, why don't we ask ourselves another - any other - question? 

Is this fulfilling? Am I helping someone else? Do I feel balanced? Do I like that I'm doing this? Do I feel it is beneficial and healthy for me? 

Can we let happiness fall into place - and leave it alone when it does, or does not? 

I get it. We want to feel like we aren't wasting this life. But maybe we shouldn't define it by being happy. 

Maybe we should define it by whether or not we're no longer thinking about being happy.