I’ve mentioned happiness and being happy a lot in throughout the years. But I’ve never really discussed it properly, what is happiness? p.s. the words happy and happiness are going to be repeated a thousand times in this post, so sorry in advance.
If you ask people, whether they’re happy or not, most of them will answer either “no” or “I don’t know“. To understand the problem, we have to first find out what happiness really is. The dictionaries of Cambridge and Merriam-Webster state the following: happiness is a state of well-being and contentment, joy, the feeling of being pleased. See how simple. Nothing too complicated, extraordinary or magical in here. So if it’s such a simple feeling, why do most people consider themselves unhappy? Why being happy has become something supernatural? Why there are millions of books about how to become happy, yet we have so many unhappy people in our world?
I reckon there’s one simple explanation for this: it’s because we, stupid people, made happiness and being happy something unreachable and impossible. We ourselves created some pointless criteria, according to which we must consider ourselves happy or unhappy. We connected happiness with outer things or even people. And not just one thing, but many of them. You can be happy if you are: rich, if you have a good and respectable job, have the latest iPhone, your own house, with the most luxurious furniture, if you have an expensive car and wear absurdly expensive clothes from brands, if you are traveling, if you’re going to cafes and different events, if you have a good partner, husband/wife, kids…That’s it, this is the standard of happiness that we have created, a huge list of things that can go on and on. But even if a person has everything described above, why is it that most of the time they still consider themselves unhappy? Because they didn’t put their priorities right on the first place. Because they connect being happy with their life stages, goals or even simple needs. With external things. And sometimes even things that they themselves don’t want. But the society wants it, hence it’s a good thing and they have to want it too.
In reality there’s nothing complex or problematic about this feeling. It is just a feeling, like being sad, being angry, pleased, satisfied, irritated etc… You can be the happiest person right now, but tomorrow you may not feel yourself completely happy, and that’s absolutely okay.
I’ve always had my own definition for it though. Happiness is an inner feeling, not connected with outer things. Happiness is appreciating and being grateful for everything you have, even if you don’t have much. It’s about being in peace with your mind and soul, and being in harmony with yourself and the world. If you don’t feel like that, nothing will make you happy, not the most expensive cars, not all the money in the world, nothing. You may get excited and pseudo-happy for a short while, but then you’ll feel down again just because you’ll find something else that will stop you from being happy. You won’t be happy unless you have the perfect body, perfect nose, visit Italy or anything else. And this circle remains unbroken.
If you want to see pure examples of happiness, just look at kids and pets. Look how sincerely happy your dog gets when you come home, when you pet him or play with him. Even cats, who often look grumpy and don’t get that excited, still purr from being happy. But the best example are children. They’re happy with no reason. They’ll jump into a puddle and feel amazing. They’ll get a toy, even an old or broken one, but they’ll feel happy (I’m not talking about the kids, who are already spoiled by their parents, trying to pass their materialistic standards to their children). You play with the child-he’s happy. They watch a cartoon-they’re happy. They do nothing-they’re still happy. Again, before being spoiled and ruined by their parents and society.
They say children are angels until a certain age, so maybe we should just look at them and try to learn that purity, innocence, and sincerity? And finally understand that there’s no hard mechanism or a special hex for being happy. You just be present in your life, with no thoughts about past or future, with no worries, fears or regrets and just enjoy that moment. I realized this many times. The last time was a simple ride, a great song, reminding the good old times, and a beautiful sunset. That’s all I needed to feel infinitely happy at that moment. Try to learn that, enjoy your every day and remember that life is all about simplicity.