Some days back I had gone to meet some friends when someone suddenly asked me, “Are you truly happy?” I could not reply immediately. Suddenly I was blank.
Why did he ask me this question out of the blue? Didn’t I look happy to him?
Why wasn’t I able to reply confidently and say that I was very happy. Thank you very much and give him not one but umpteen reasons for my happiness without any lapse in time?
But I wasn’t able to do that. My mind took time to process and assimilate the answer.
I felt flustered and suddenly out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t expected this.
That day, as I made my way back home, I could not help but ponder on happiness. What is happiness?
Why did my mind go blank on the topic?
I am very happy in my life. I have a loving husband, a very supportive family, a comfortable life with all the material pleasures that I need and I am healthy. Then why didn’t I say that I was happy?
“Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”. This is the meaning of happiness I got on the internet. I think I fit the description but still sometimes feel that something is missing in my life. Maybe because I am unconsciously comparing my life with others who I feel have a more ideal life than me or maybe it is because I am bored and crave some adventure in my life.
It often happens that when you are made aware of something you tend to start noticing it everywhere. Same thing happened to me also and I started noticing people around me and trying to deduce if they were happy.
Several very interesting cases came to my notice. Every morning, a small boy comes to my house to collect garbage. Dressed in torn and utterly worn out clothes and battered shoes, he has everything to be unhappy about. He has no monetary security in his life. He has to collect other people’s garbage to survive, has no apparent future prospects. No education and no comfort in his life. Living in utter poverty he should be the unhappiest boy in town but still, everyday, I hear him singing off key at the top of his lungs, playing with a stick and a small broken car which someone most probably threw away in the trash. He has a glow on his face and a peace that eludes most of us. Always smiling and enjoying each moment, he is the happiest boy that I know.
Then as I move a little higher in the monetary earning hierarchy, there is my maid. She is often happy. Happy on the day we pay her. Happy when there is some new gossip. Happy when there is a prospect of getting gifts apart from her salary. She gets excited at the smallest of things like sudden change in the weather where she is happy to foretell the forecast or the stories of her village which is too far away but still very near to her heart or the overall child like curiosity that she has. Despite her meager pay-scale and huge load of work she is at peace with her life.
After her, I took a look at myself. I have the blessing of not having to work to sustain myself. I am financially comfortable. Socially accepted with many caring friends and emotionally supported and loved by my family. I have everything one needs to be happy but still I often find myself complaining over things like my weight, my boring mundane life, my confusion regarding my future and my frustration or jealousy towards people who I think are enjoying their life with pretty outings and cute photos on Facebook as compared to my boring and uneventful life.
Then I went forward and analyzed my parents who have braved so many difficulties in life. Faced so many storms but still seem to be counting their blessings rather than cribbing and complaining. They too are at peace.
As I understood it, Happiness is a mental state of satisfaction that can only be attained if one is prepared to see the positive and root out the negative. I wrote out my blessings in one column and my frustrations/sources of unhappiness in the other column and was surprised to see that I had much to be happy about. Will this realization help me stay happy and thankful is yet to be seen but one thing is clear to me. The things that make me happy might not be the things that make you happy.
I don’t know what I want from life but one thing I do realize now. I have enough to be happy about. As I write this, a moment from some years back comes to my mind. One day, some three years back, I and my senior from college went to a temple to pray. We started discussing about what we wished for, most, in our lives. I gave her several answers like a good job, lots of money, recognition, etc. etc. But she remained quiet. I was intrigued. I asked her what she asked for from God. The answer she gave stumped me. She said, “I pray to be smiling always. If I smile then that means that I am happy and life is good.”
She made me realize that day that she had found a way to get all her wishes fulfilled. She had asked for the ultimate thing. Happiness! Although I did forget this lesson until now but being happy is the ultimate goal that everyone should have and everything that we do should be built around it.
When you are at peace with your life, ready to simplify it by setting goals, ready to reflect on your experiences and show gratitude to all that you have, then, my friend, you are truly happy and successful.
1) Set a goal–> having an aim or a goal in our life gives it meaning. Set a goal and strive towards it. Study shows that achieving the goal or failing to do so is not important. What are important are the experiences that we have during the journey and the lessons that we take from it.
2) Be grateful–> Show gratitude for everything that you have in your life. Being thankful makes us aware of all the good in our lives and ultimately brings the mind the happiness that it seeks.
3) Be at peace–> A peaceful mind and body works wonders on our overall happiness quotient. Either make peace with your life or try to change it according to your wishes by taking proactive steps.
4) Focus on happiness–> We cannot always be happy. Sometimes we are sad too. So quit being embarrassed about being sad and focus your life on gaining happiness in everything that you do.
5) Simplify your life–> Prioritize your daily schedule so that you get some “me” time. Indulge yourself in a hobby you loved at one time but haven’t given time to recently or learn something new. Take out sometime daily for yourself where you can just be yourself and do things that give you happiness.
Staying joyful and smiling is an art that needs to be learned. I hope I learn it and the next time someone asks me if I am happy. I don’t blank out and without hesitation say that YES! I am happy! 🙂
About Nikita Johri
Nikita is a software engineer with a love for books. A book critique, an aspiring writer and a bibliophile, she happily runs a blog called Njkinny’s World of Books and can also be found on Facebook, twitter, Linkedin, IndiBlogger, BlogAdda, Goodreads etc. She loves to laugh and make the best of each day.
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