Where is my happiness?

Where is my happiness?

JOYS OF LIFE

Where is my happiness?

There are many traits that are universally present among the humankind — love, hatred, jealousy and anger, to name a few. They all manifest variedly in different people. But what is the one common quest that we are all chasing unendingly, but don’t quite talk about.

Let us face it. It is happiness that we are all after. From the rebellious teenager to the brooding octogenarian, the one common product that everyone is looking for in the bazaar of life is ‘happiness.’ But where do we find it? Across the window? Around the street corner, perhaps? But these places are far too quaint and mundane to chance upon something so precious, most people would assume. It is indeed unfortunate that in a world that is rife with materialistic pleasure, fancy gizmos, swanky malls, all-night casinos, 24X7 entertainment centres and high paying jobs are believed to be the eternal springs of happiness.

Yet, going by what a privileged few who have been able to find and enjoy happiness have to say, the theory that a huge bank balance, worldly possessions and fame are the prerequisites to happiness has been successfully debunked. On the contrary, it has been pointed out that happiness abounds in the ordinary everyday events of life, for those who care enough to spot it. But that is a tall order, the cynic in you might interrupt saying. And to counter that argument, here we are, having culled out for you the avenues where happiness abounds. You will be surprised to know that it lurks just around the corner of the street.

Everywhere in life

“Give me happiness that I may enjoy life,” pleaded the despondent one to his creator. “I have given you life that you may enjoy happiness,” replied the Lord. Life in all its ups and downs, highs and lows, good and bad times, ebb and flow, is filled with happiness. The rising sun, the cool breeze, the rustling leaves, the chirping birds, the misty hilltop, the flowing stream, the picturesque landscape — all tell the tale of the happiness that is teeming in life.

Anyone who finds the act of living life itself to be enjoyable, does not have to look for happiness in the external world. For, the real unceasing source of happiness is life in its simplest form, uncomplicated by material greed, attachments and wants. Committing to life and living it to the fullest is not only the easiest way of being happy, but also the surest.

There’s some at work tooCharles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, the French writer, attributed the constant happiness in his life solely to his work. “I am only fulfilled when, pen in hand, I sit in the silence of my room,” he acknowledged. Work that gives meaning to our lives and defines us also brings with it abounding happiness. This is referred to as the autotelic experience (autos meaning self and telos meaning goal), where the work in which one is involved, is a self-contained, pleasurable and wholly satisfying condition.

In between kindness

Acts of kindness are packed with happiness. To unleash an abundant supply of joy into life is simply to indulge in all forms of kindness, from random deeds to premeditated ones.
Give a flower, leave a thank you note, appreciate a teacher, offer your seat to someone on the bus, let another person get ahead of you in a line, listen with your heart, plant a tree, pay compliments, recognise an ignored person, tip generously, smile, share a joke, be tolerant. Do one kind act everyday — it is packed with happiness and will unleash an abundant supply of happiness easily into our lives and those around us.

Being optimistic

Negativity, cynicism and pessimism breed misery. And as logic would have had it, an attitude that is full of emotions that are the opposite of negativity brims with happiness. Taking a few minutes at the start of the day for an affirmation of optimism is the easiest way to find and stay happy through the day. As American gymnast Mary Lou Retton rightly said, “Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.”  So, if you are too busy telling others how lonely you are or how horrible your boss is or what a deteriorating universe you live in, quit the talk and train yourself to see the positive side and the beauty of the universe. You will be surprised at how magical the habit can be in drawing happiness to you.

Giving selflessly

Giving is far better than receiving. This is not a mere cliché, but a time-tested creed for finding happiness. For, the joy in giving freely is wholesome and lasting. Give away a bit of your earnings, wealth, time, talent and effort to those who may be in need of it. Exhort those who attribute their perennially high happiness levels to the habit of giving that they have adopted. Perhaps, there is much truth in the fact that what is not given is strangely lost. Besides, the laws of nature predict that everything given in the universe rebounds to the giver sooner than later.

Called the ‘boomerang effect,’ giving makes sure that anything that is given comes back to the giver, usually multiplied many times and accompanied by loads of happiness. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more,” says H Jackson Brown Jr, author of the bestseller Life's Little Instruction Book.

Abounds in love

Finally, if nothing works at making you a happy person, simply turn to love and choose to love. There is no greater compelling force or energy than this instrument to garner the hidden powers of the universe to generate happiness in its simplest and yet, abounding form.

French novelist George Sand nailed it well in words such as: “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” One should know that in the end, pursuing happiness is like chasing a colourful butterfly that is constantly flitting from flower to flower. The more we run after it and sense that we’ve almost grasped it in our hands, the more it eludes us. But ignore it, and it gently alights on our hands and flutters its wings, revealing its pristine beauty at close quarters. Quite simple, isn’t it?

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