Recently I read a line that said –
“Just as a confident man doesn’t wonder if he’s confident, a happy man does not wonder if he’s happy. He simply is.” anonymous
Digging deeper into those words I started contemplating about what happiness really meant to me. All these years my happiness was always dependent on an external factor. It was – buy X and be happy, learn Y and be happy, holiday at Z and be happy. Never did I understand that happiness is not something that I can buy or achieve. Yes, it would definitely give me satisfaction for a short period of time but once I have that XYZ after that what? The happiness is gone and the search for next XYZ begins and the entire process repeats itself all over again.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon
It is that simple! Happiness, just like any other emotion is not something you attain or achieve but it is something that resides within you, it’s just a matter of how to find it. If you try to be cool, you can never be cool; similarly, if you have to try to be happy you can never be. The problem in today’s time is that we people are just trying too hard to be happy rather than just being happy!
Somewhere along the line, our definition of happiness became blurred, it became more and more about the money and success. The desire for more power and wealth has made us so blind that we stopped being happy for what we really have, to achieve something that we might or might not have.
Talking to a lot of people about what happiness meant to them I discovered that they all misunderstood happiness to be same as pleasure, which it is not. When we are looking for happiness, what we really are looking for is the pleasure, for instance- good food, designer clothes, more money, a new car, a bigger house, more parties, becoming more popular, and so on. While having all of these things feels great on the outside but it’s not equivalent to real happiness inside.
Ask any drug addict how their search for pleasure turned out to be or an adulterer who destroyed her family if pleasure really made her happy or a man who ate his guts out, how happy did the pleasure make him? The answer would all be the same. Pleasure is a myth. Studies have shown that people who focus on materialistic and one-dimensional pleasures end up being anxious, emotionally unstable and depressed in the long run. Pleasure is the easiest and frivolous form of life satisfaction. It is only there to distract us from our true happiness. As much as pleasure is important to human life it is not the ultimate goal.
There’s definitely a lot of other aspects as well that leads us to think that we are happy but actually, it isn’t. Real happiness and inner peace come from accepting yourself and then becoming the ideal self.
Finishing a race makes us happier than indulging in a dessert. Completing a business presentation makes us happier than partying all night long. Quitting that high-paying job and pursuing your passion and struggling to make money is what makes you happier than just envying others living their dream lives. Funnily, all these activities are highly unpleasant, require dedication and extreme hard work; yet they seem to be the most meaningful and fulfilling moments and activities of our lives. They involve intense emotions like pain, anger, despair and struggle, but once sailed through it, we feel happy.
Because all of these things gives us utmost fulfilment and HAPPINESS. They are aligned to makes us our ideal selves. These experiences matter to us more than being successful or failing, surpassing the negative and reaching the positive. This is why some people are happy at war and some are sad at weddings. Some love to work and hate to party. The traits that they possess don’t go hand in hand with their ideal selves.
We all need to face the ugly truth, that Trying to be happy in our lives will always end up making us unhappy. Happiness can be found in the smallest and simplest of things like smiling at a stranger or giving someone a chocolate without any reason. We all need to understand and redefine what happiness really means to each one of us. Happiness is not how big our house is or how hefty our bank balance is but how big our heart is and how much love is in there to give.
It always so happens that whatever we search for on the outside is always found on the inside. No matter how much we run after things the only true happiness is always within us. All we need to do is seek. No matter what you do in life or where you are there will always be that ONE thing you need to do to become extraordinarily happy. There will always be deadlines and expectations to meet but let go of the imaginations and the end results- it doesn’t matter. Just live wholeheartedly without any inhibitions.
Stop trying to be happy and just be!