What Do You Mean Happy?
What happened to happiness?
If being happy were only about letting the good times roll we’d definitely be in a bad way. Having shot the bolt on our visa card, earned a thumping head from one (okay, three) too many, or simply experiencing the shock of our horrible too-early alarm clock declaring a nasty end to a precious weekend… there’s got to be more to it than that.
Well obviously there is. Living well is fundamental to finding happiness in your life. At least, the kind of happiness that lasts.
Of course, ‘living well’ can have many different meanings. For members of a cult it might mean obeying the faith in their Great and Glorious Leader. Wrapped up in a big orange parachute and sporting a shiny baldhead, for them he the only one who can truly mete out the magic.
For some it might mean routinely pulling out an extensive shopping list and calling upon God, the universe, or their rich Uncle Cecil to deliver whatever it is they’ve just got to get. Like, “Dear God, I really need that job… and that jet ski… that perfect score for my test results… oh and first prize win in the lottery”. This jam-packed prayer request of blessings is essentially based on the theme that “If I only had what I really want then finally I could be really happy”.
There are of course those that declare – with considerable conviction – that happiness is just an attitude. Work it hard and like a muscle you will build up the rigorous equivalent of a jolly six-pack of happiness abs. That way, you will become impervious to the hard knocks of life and, as a happy Ubermensch, overcome everything… if only you choose to make it that way.
There’s a grain or two on truth in it all of course. But subsisting on the odd speck is nowhere near enough. Somehow, the knowledge that a generous portion of happiness is there for all of us to enjoy has gotten utterly lost.
Of course, you can blame advertising for some of it. If we just bought the right rouge, a finer wine, or got more opportunities to dine at trendier restaurants we’d be fine. Though we know it’s mostly a hoax it’s hard not to get affected by the thousands of calculated calls.
But if a higher level of happiness is about living well then the ultimate pleasure is fulfillment. Even if you could have and do it all, without contentment it would surely be all for naught.
Happiness – the kind that comes from applying yourself and living kindly and wisely – is an immensely satisfying thing with the most incredible shelf life.
So, how about you? Are you happy with how life is working out for you? Or, are there things you’d want to improve? These are rhetorical questions. Because, yes, we can all do better, do more, live bigger, and aim higher. Yet, if we forget to include our own satisfaction in the equation, happiness like a fine butterfly, will keep on fluttering by: forever proving elusive.
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