As long as I can remember, I’ve always thought about what it means to be happy.
Growing up, I believed that I should aspire to be one of the happiest people on earth.
But I’m older and the fog has lifted from my eyes. Now, I’m painfully aware that the world is not a happy place.
Life is not like they paint it to be in fairy tales.
As I grew older, I realized that sadness is like a companion that stays with you for long. I noticed that grief can bring clarity of purpose. And pain teaches hard lessons that can change a person’s life forever.
Scientists and and experts have for a very long time explored the subject of happiness. You’d think they would have figured it out by now.
How Happiness Works
The science of happiness is closely related to positive psychology. For years interest in the field has grown with a major focus on the measurement of happiness. To what end? So that people can find a way out of misery.
The best way to conduct this research is to study happy people and those things that make people happy.
Scientists can attach sensors to your head to detect if you are happy at any given time. But they can’t exactly conclude on those things that would make you happy for the rest of your life because life is unpredictable and change is inevitable.
The misconception about happiness
When people say they want to be happy, I wonder if they truly know what they are saying. When I ask many of them why they are not happy at the moment they are quick to make conditional statements.
For instance, “If I get a job, buy a car, travel to Dubai, and so on, I‘ll be happy.”
In reality, we have seen people acquire such things and are still searching for happiness. It gets harder as we grow older and society demands that we must cross these milestones.
How easy we trap ourselves in these situations that make it impossible to consider the possibility of being happy outside our conditional statements.
The right approach to happiness
A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness says, Bernard de Fontenelle. I believe this is true. Life is bad; Life is good. Don’t expect too much happiness and save yourself a headache.
Research in the field of positive psychology has shown that happiness is a state of mind. Our mind is a powerful tool and many have proposed that winning and losing start with the mind.
Condition your mind
No template is one-size-fits-all, so many of us fail to comprehend that there’s no universal measurable scale for happiness. Every individual decides for him or herself what happiness means to them. I tell myself: It’s all in the mind.
Money is necessary to improve the quality of life. Yes, I want to be rich. I want to be able to afford opportunities and go to places where I can be better for myself and society. But it’s possible that I may buy the latest iPhone, cars, and shoes, and still feel rotten on the inside.
This ingrained expectation of happiness manifesting because of material gain is not entirely true and I refuse to subscribe to it.
Social media won’t give me the answers to finding happiness nor would seeking fulfilment in the things that society exalts. Many people walk around empty on the inside even with all they have because the things that cause them to be happy and full are for a while.
Choose to be happy
This is what I have discovered. If you want to be happy you should first acknowledge that it comes from you. It’s your life; it’s your choice. Pursue things like family, true friendship, purpose and passion, things that are intentional and lasting.
You can allow yourself to admit that what makes you happy can change over the years. It’s okay to be sad sometimes but don’t dwell on it.
Despite all the things that I know now that I’m older (still working on wiser), I believe it’s possible to be happy if I you choose happiness every day.
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