Are you happy? Well, are you?
I’m sure every one who reads this and everyone on this planet has thought about this at one point or another in their life. So, are you? How do you know? Well, I guess, you could identify things or events or people that make us happy quite easily but seriously, are you happy?
What is happiness anyway? It’s one of those questions that many philosophers and thinkers have wrestled with for centuries. Is it something that is intrinsic – coming from within, somewhere deep within us, our souls, our spirits maybe or is it something that comes from without – external from us, our environment? Some of you may argue both makes you happy.
Hang on, lets look at it again. Is happiness the same thing as being ‘happy’? I don’t think so but I am not going to try and explain that one in this blog. Investigate that for yourself. See what you find. Someone wise once said something to the effect that the very pursuit of happiness is in itself, futile. Happiness could be said to be something that brings you pleasure, but even this cannot ever be a sufficient enough condition of happiness. Many cannot differentiate between genuine and authentic pleasure and fake or inauthentic pleasure. The former brings about a memory of fulfiment, like, say, the enduring love of a special friend, compared to the fake-pleasure of a drug, for example.
In our society, happiness, may be seen as the desire for and acquisition of material goods and services. However, could this be a ‘happiness party-pauper’? Is wanting too much making everyone feel less happy? Some of the poorest nations of the world have their citizens being the happiest – countries like Fiji, Costa Rica etc. Where does your country sit on the happiness scale? Maybe the western world can learn a thing or two about the beliefs and philosophies of these people, where maybe, in terms of material possessions – less is sometimes more.
Is it possible that, in the more developed countries like ours, happiness is hard to find and keep because of the insatiable desire to buy stuff, yep stuff. All that ‘stuff’ that fills up garages and storerooms, inevitably creating more and more clutter in one’s lives and minds. Stuff we don’t really need, buying them just to make us happy. More and more of everyones’ leisure and ‘family time’ seem to be taken up by the employer, mounting up more hours in meaningless jobs to buy consumer goods. Consumer goods that we are lied to by smart marketers and advertisers, making us buy, buy, buy … brain-washing us to believe that the possession of these goods will ‘bring you happiness’. What a load of you know what! Consumerism itself maybe the golliath that needs to be floored by a brave individual, before happiness is revealed.
You could try these 3 things to help you get closer to happiness:
- Find your ‘authentic self’
- Don’t fill your time on weekends maintaining a carpet of grass or renovating kitchens and bathrooms or the like
- Do spend your time ‘filling your mind’ with mental nutrition
Firstly, I would suggest, you try to be more self-aware. Then, of course, do your very best to meet all your needs and then with whatever resources you have, you may seek to get some of your wants satisfied. Not the other way ‘round. We all allow and see the goods we have as an extension of ourselves like the car you drive, and watch you wear. We then commit more and more hours to the drudgery of work to pay for it all. But how much is enough? Will having more ‘bling’ than your neighbours bring you closer to being happier? Does the acquisition of these stuff make you feel more successful as a human being and less of a failure?
Let me ask you a question: Do you think the very rich are the happiest? I would argue that may be they aren’t. Why? Well, one of the reasons maybe because, they’re always trying to be the richest. Its like a bodybuilder trying to be the guy with the biggest muscles – almost impossible, because, just around the corner, there is always someone bigger, or soon-to-be bigger, rising up the ranks. Everywhere you turn, there is somebody bigger. Endlessly disappointing. It can drive people crazy!
Someone once told me that ‘bigger isn’t necessarily better’ and I think the same can be said about richness.
However, here’s a little secret: try viewing your finite life, each of the 86,400 seconds in a day from now on, from your death-bed’s view. I think you would come to conclude ‘happiness’ would include most if not all those ‘moments’ – points in time, that are free from the trappings of money or status and filled with authenticity.
Capture and treasure those ‘moments’ forever.
Here’s to you finding your authentic self: to hap … happy … happiness.
Until next time …