This is the start of a new series and we begin by trying to answer the question: What is happiness? I guess we all have different definitions for this term that is used to describe a lot of emotions and also a term that we always keep searching for. What you are about to read is my definition and what I have learned in my pursuit for happiness, but I am also eager to know what your definition is, hence, leave me a comment below.
This post does not mention where you can find happiness or how to be happier in life, the aim is to help you define your happiness so that as you pursue it, you have a clear direction of what you are actually pursuing.
I consider myself a happy person however, after completing my course at university, I really began to question if I was as happy as I considered. Happiness is relative and that is why it is quite hard to answer what is happiness. Is it a feeling? Is it an emotion? What impact does it make in my life? Do I deserve it? And the greatest question, when will I ever be happy?
The minute I questioned if I was happy, I began a pursuit of happiness. This pursuit, however, made me more miserable and I had to pause and ask myself what I was chasing. There was no point in spending a lot of time and effort trying to look for something that I totally had no idea about. And so I had to answer this dreaded question.
I began by identifying that happiness was a state of emotion or feeling. It is something I should feel always. But what exactly should I feel? Then I got stuck trying to know what being happy felt like. Allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Imagine this one time in your life when you were actually happy. When for sure every part of your body knew and felt the happiness. What occasion or event was it? Explain what exactly made you happy. Were you celebrating something or buying something? How long did that feeling last? Did you wake up as happy (not hungover) the following day?
One thing I discovered is that I had attached happiness to an event. I didn’t know how to describe being happy without actually thinking of something great that happened or feeling some good and positive emotion in my body. Sadly, this is what most of us have defined as happiness. We have attached happiness to something, which realistically is normal but then it means our pursuit for happiness will never end.
I was in that boat before I decided to give it a new definition in my life. I thought that I would be happy one day when I have particular things in my life. Happiness is surely something to be worked hard for, I believed. How can I be happy if I am not yet successful? I am not even close to being the person who I want to be, how then can I say that I am happy? For sure, I was convinced that there is no way at this point in my life I can be happy.
I can sadly confess that I knew from deep within that being happy comes after success. For as long as I succeeded I would be happy but how sustainable is that? Being successful in life is a journey and so did it mean that throughout the journey I would not be happy?
Happiness is a state we imagine that we will reach when particular things happen or we attain some status. Nobody, not even me, sees happiness in failure. Therefore if you can’t attach anything material to happiness, what truly is happiness?
What is happiness?
Happiness is what you define it as. Nobody can define what happiness is for you. However, it is fully dependent on you. It has nothing to do with anything from the outside. Happiness is found within. This, therefore, puts a stop to blaming unhappiness on other people – our parents, partners, children, friends, church or the economy. Everybody has a chance to be happy, you just have to stop looking for it and find it within.
And that was the greatest lesson I learned about happiness. Regardless of how high I may climb the career ladder, or what wealth I can acquire, or how many likes and followers I have, I am responsible for my own happiness. It is sad that most of us live our life looking forward to this moment of pure and never-ending happiness.
My general conclusion is that my definition of happiness is not necessarily your definition and that should not be a problem or concern. Writing makes me very happy and each time I do it, I feel some type of way. All the same, there are times when writing doesn’t give me that spark of joy like when I’m about to miss a deadline! If I attach my happiness to writing, I’m bound to feel unhappy for a large part of my life.
When I discovered that no matter how much wealth, fame and success I acquire there is no change in my happiness, a lot happened. It felt like a revelation of something new in my life. I encourage you to detach being happy from anything else and start looking for it within you.
There are some conditions that one needs to satisfy in order to think about being truly happy. The fact that you can afford to cater to your basic needs means that you have the foundation to be truly happy. There are things that happen in life that could be a barrier to happiness. I do not really want to go in depth but if that is the case; it is important to evaluate if you need professional help.
I do admit there will be bad days; when you feel like the world is crumbling on you or falling apart. However, the situation should not persist for months. You should be able to take responsibility for your happiness and resume your life. Those days when you fall face flat, yes face flat, that is when you learn to smile in tough times.
Now, I know that happiness is more of a choice than a state of being. You just don’t find happiness, you choose to be happy. Sometimes it is not the big grandeur things that make us happy, it is the small little tiny ones that we choose to see. Those small things count and more often than not, they will be the reason you are either happy or unhappy.
Happiness to me is serving others and being my best self. With that in mind, I realised there is no need to pursue happiness, I had it all along but I did not know! Since I knew what it was to me, I began to understand why some things make me happy and others don’t. I also knew what I needed to do each day to feel happy and to be my best self.
My perception of happiness drifted from seeing it as one big thing very far away to something that I can enjoy daily. All the same, I still have bad days. Sometimes so bad that I just cry (a very good therapy for me) but I always know that it is okay. I know that what I may feel at one point does not determine what I will feel on the days that follow.
When you are happy in the inside, it will show on the outside. However, you can always trick your body to being happy by acting happy. Smile and laugh at every joke but at the end of it all, remember to define your own happiness. Nobody is responsible for your happiness and if you do not create happiness for yourself, who will?
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.Earl Nightingale
This little section is your assignment in order to love your life a little more. Today, I would like you to define happiness for yourself. Also ask yourself what are your barriers to happiness and what can you do about one of those barriers.
When I truly understood what happiness meant for me, I began to focus on the right things and started to make decisions that actually made me happier.
This is a topic you don’t want to miss out on. There is plenty coming up on happiness and I believe by the end of it all, you will be a happier person. Subscribe if you haven’t and don’t miss out on a single post.
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