“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss
It’s amazing how kids can teach us life lessons without them knowing it. Such is the case one afternoon when I was having a conversation with my four year-old son. I’ve been going on leave for a several days every week because I’m trying to consume all my remaining leaves while at the same time taking care of the kids while we are still without a nanny. Yes, I’m shooting two birds with one stone and this has allowed me to spend more time with my kids than I ever had compare to the previous year.
Anyways, my son asked me the other day who will look after them tomorrow (he didn’t know that I will still be on leave) so I answered him back and told him that it would still be daddy. He smiled and asked how many days are left before Saturday comes so I asked him back why he wanted to know. He said he is looking forward to the weekend because all of us will be home. I asked him why and he said he feels happy when everyone is around.
This made me realize a couple of things but what stood out was the question, what makes me happy? Having a complete family makes my son happy and it didn’t matter if we didn’t go to the mall or eat at their favorite fast food chain. Happiness is a very simple word but if you analyze it closely, it is quite difficult to define.
The formal definition of happiness is defined as an emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy but for most of us, it can mean a lot of things. Here are 4 things you should know about happiness:
1. Happiness comes from within – As cliché as that may sound, happiness does indeed come from within. It doesn’t come from other people, it doesn’t come from material objects or from the events in our lives. It comes from deep within us. It all starts with the kind of mindset you have. People with a positive outlook in life finds happiness much easier compared to pessimists.
The most common mistake people make is to think that happiness comes from outside forces or circumstances which are beyond their control. Happiness starts with you. You can have everything your heart desires but still feel empty for some reason.
2. Happiness is a choice – I love this tagline and I loved it so much that I made it this blog’s tagline because through my own experience, I learned that indeed, happiness is a choice. I’ve reached a point in my life where I was almost at the brink of giving up because I can’t seem to get a break. I was getting overwhelmed by difficulties and I was starting to become miserable and then I heard Joel Osteen speak.
It suddenly dawned on me that I was miserable not because of the difficulties I’m experiencing but because I was letting adversity get the best of me. I was letting myself feel miserable and I realized, if I can make myself feel miserable, I can definitely make myself feel happy too. This realization made me a better person. I’ve learned to deal with adversity better than I used to. I don’t easily get frustrated anymore because I’ve learned how to look for the positive in every situation.
3. Happiness is different from pleasure – Every time you achieve something you desire like a new flat screen TV or a new car, you feel great pleasure having obtained something you have set your sights at. You feel great because you now own something you didn’t have before but does this feeling stay with you for a long time? Probably not because as soon as a new model for that TV or car comes out, it is possible that you will set your sights on these new models again.
Unlike happiness, pleasure is momentary and is dependent on circumstance. Happiness is something more constant and internal. You do not feel it because a certain condition was satisfied but rather because you are satisfied with your current state.
4. Happiness is not an outcome – Most of us believe that happiness is supposed to be a result or by-product of something but the truth is, it isn’t. It’s a feeling. That’s it. How may times have we said the lines “I will be happy when…” or “I will be happy if…”?
We associate happiness with circumstance and look at it as something that is conditional. Happiness isn’t conditional. You can be happy no matter what kind of circumstances you’re going through.
Compare someone who’s doing a job he likes but earns less to someone who earns a six-figure paycheck but hates what he does. If you get to do something that makes you happy, money won’t be an issue. Your happiness is not dependent on something else because you love what you do and that is more than enough.
Happiness doesn’t have to be as complicated as others make it out to be because you can find happiness if you really want to by changing your mindset. Feed your mind with positive things and think less of those that makes you feel pain because in the end, your happiness depends on you and no one else.
At this point in time, can you honestly say that you’ve found happiness?
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