“Happiness is learning to cook your favorite meal”. “Happiness is dancing in the moonlight”. “Happiness is buying your favorite brand of clothes”. “Happiness is buying a new car”. Etc etc etc…
Sounds familiar, right? Your Facebook walls must have been flooded with images from the latest sensation of the social networking site called ‘The Happy Page’. And you must have ‘liked’ the posts, shared them on your walls and definitely tagged your friends in them as well. But have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about the types of messages being conveyed in those posts? Have you ever thought how is happiness defined as?
The definition of happiness varies largely for different people. For some people, happiness comes from filling your wardrobe with expensive stuff from brands like Chanel, Gucci and Jimmy Choo. Others find happiness in donating money, food and books to the poor and needy, while there are scores of others who receive happiness by just managing to provide their children with two square meals a day. Weird how happiness comes to people in such varied forms!
Why is there such a huge gap in people’s perception and attainment of happiness? Probably it is the society we live in that shapes up our thinking like that. Or is it our personal learning, values, beliefs and upbringing that makes us so different from each other?
Those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth are brought up with lot of materialistic things around them. However, it is not necessary that these people are happy only when they receive expensive gifts from their loved ones. I have known a few people who belong to this class of the society, and are yet far from the materialistic pleasures of life. You would not find them in premium restaurants with their buddies or maybe, shopping in high- end malls and buying stuff they probably won’t even wear more than once. Instead, they feel happy when they are able to serve the society through any act of kindness and virtue. They dedicate their life to the cause of the poor and underprivileged, not only to make those people happy, but also derive a sense of joy and satisfaction for self.
On the other hand, there are also people who think that money can buy them happiness. Winning a lottery or getting a high paying job is a reason for them to be happy. More often than not, their thoughts get centered around the fact that they want more money so that they can attain all those materialistic pleasures of life which they had always longed for. Not that it is bad, but it should not be such a priority in life that one forgets everything else around him just for the sake of money.
Some people say you are happy only when you think you are happy. For some, happiness comes from their own actions. Some others believe that happiness follows naturally whenever you perform a good deed. I personally feel that happiness comes from happy thoughts. If you let your mind be filled with happy thoughts- of the past and present- then you would get the strength to face any situation no matter how adverse it is. Indeed, the mind gives in to the temptations of sadness and despair but it is up to us how to make ourselves happy even in those situations.
If you make others happy, a smile on their face in turn makes you happier, just because you know that you are the source of happiness. Don’t believe me? Surprise your mother some day by cooking her favorite dish and you will know what I mean. Or treat the poor beggar down the road with some food and see a wide smile sit pretty on his face, and tell me how you feel. Hug a friend after a huge row and see how happy she feels to be friends again, and you’ll realize how true all of it was!
But when I say these, I don’t mean that you should let go of your happiness all the time. At times, it is important to stop thinking about the joy of others just so that you can be happy. There is no point of making other people happy when all you get in return is pain and bitterness. Sometimes, people don’t even acknowledge the fact that you are the source of their happiness. And no, I don’t mean to imply that you should keep reminding others of the fact that it is you who has been the reason for their happiness. It’s just that every human has a basic level of expectation from people he/she loves to make happy.
Wayne Dyer once said- “Happiness is something that you are and it comes from the way you think.”
So if you think you are happy being a hippie, not caring about the world around you and living in your own free kingdom, then there is nothing wrong in that! Irrespective of what you do, at the end of the day, it is you who is going to be happy, which is what matters the most. When you look back at life, you don’t want to end up having more regrets than happiness in your life, right?