Yes, you read that right.
“Happiness” is a word that is tossed around not quite so carelessly as it should be. Or maybe it’s tossed around too carelessly that we’ve forgotten what it actually means.
We all want to be “happy”, but the concept of this so called “happiness” is so misconstrued that our minds have barely grasped it, let alone experience or enjoy it.
We envision happiness as this ultimate golden ball of sunshine that will miraculously come find us when the time is “right” and/or on a day when all our troubles will magically disappear like soap bubbles that pop and leave no trace behind.
For better or worse, happiness is not merely an ‘ideal’ situation, it is a conscious decision. And like most conscious decisions, effort is required to project its effects on our life. For example, if you’ve made a conscious decision to lose weight, you will have to do mental effort (and that is how you will discipline yourself to follow a certain diet that will control your calorie intake) and the physical effort to actually go to the gym to burn those stubborn calories off so you can achieve your ‘ideal’ weight. This is how your efforts will result in the physical manifestation of your decision in your life.
Truth is, happiness is not the absence of all problems. It is that bubbly feeling that fizzes in our chest even in the presence of all the problems that threaten to weigh us down. Admittedly, it is a diffucult decision, when all you want to do is curl up in a fetal position and mourn all the calamities that have befallen you. You’re allowed to do that too, but then you must make another decision to not let such moments linger on for too long so that they don’t cement themselves permanently in your lifestyle and retain their position as a momentary lapse instead.
We were children once, blissful and ignorant of all that the world had to offer. “Life seemed so much simpler then,” we reminiscence as we think about how complicated life has currently become. We don’t realize that just like us, happiness grows up too. Just like we develop different aspects of our personality, happiness does too. Just as we are not two dimensional, so isn’t happiness. Just as we don’t stay in the same place, both physically and intellectually, happiness doesn’t too.
When you were five, getting that one Barbie doll or a toy car or a box of chocolates had the capacity to make you squeal with delight. As you’ve gotten older, now your happiness comes from getting a newer version of some fancy phone or a perfect instagram selfie or whatever.
Seemingly, the idea of happiness is constant but its shape is not. When you are young, you are just getting the taste of life and happiness is handed to you on a silver platter in its primary form (this is the reason why your happiness stemmed from such superficial things, then. And those things don’t have that much of an effect now that you’ve gotten older). It is when you grow older and start to understand the ropes of life and the world around you, that is when your happiness changes accordingly (notice how I’ve used the word start, we’re not pros at life and that’s fine too).
Happiness becomes more complex and seemingly difficult to obtain because we forget to recognize and cherish it because we’re too busy trying to ‘keep it together’ in life.
When you level up and proceed to succeed in a video game, the stages get harder but that doesn’t necessarily seem like a burden because with that difficulty, there is a certain validation and the struggle itself is proof that you are getting ahead. Even if you scramble, get frustrated or find yourself in the dark realms of sadness, just remember that in that difficulty, life has given you a level up. And like other things in your life that will change, when you level up, happiness will too.
It’s kind of like love. When you truly love someone, you love them regardless of their flaws and shortcomings. You love them for who they are in essence. Same is the case with happiness, the state of being happy is not due to the complete absence of worries, it is your decision that elevates you from these problems and makes you revel at the beauty of everything despite its flaws.
In reality, the so called “flaw” or problem will remain as it is (permanently or for the time being) but you can choose to alter your view about it.
Choose whether you can afford to be happy about it. This decision isn’t always pleasant, but it is worthwhile. I promise.
You’ll realize that when you stop pursuing happiness and make a conscious choice to embody it instead, that is when happiness will start pursuing you, instead of the other way round.