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  • Writer's pictureAakansha Mahajan

What makes us happy-REALLY HAPPY?

What is happiness? How do we define the word “happy”? How do we feel when we say that “I am very happy today?”

If I have to think about happiness, being happy is basically an emotional (or specifically mental) state of well-being (or being fine) which brings positivity, contentment and joy in our personality.

Happiness is a varied range of emotions which depends upon individuals. Some people connect happiness to contentment, some to peace of mind and some to intense joy in a particular moment.

Everybody wants to be happy and everyone has a different way of getting happy. We all work to achieve the final goal of “being happy”.

“Being happy” is a state which has a vast range of emotions and every individual finds it in different places, situations and with different people.

Some people get happiness in travelling, some find happiness in nature’s serene beauty, some in lavish places, some find happiness in buying new and expensive clothes, cars , accessories and houses whereas watching a good movie with friends makes others happy.

Some people finds happiness in partying, whereas a meal with all the family members makes another individual –a happy one.

Happiness has no set limits, no boundaries and there are no proper guidelines of how-can-I-be-happy.

But in today’s changing world, somewhere in finding happiness, I have observed that people (many of whom I know, not all) are not able to discern the difference between real happiness and falseness, show-off (which they assume is happiness ).

When I look around, at my friends, family and relatives, neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, unknowns- I see that everybody (not literally everybody but majority of people around the world) is running behind happiness…!!

But real happiness comes from within, we don’t have to run behind it.”

Everybody is trying to “showcase” their happiness to one or the other by different means.

But are we “really” happy?

People are trying all kinds of things to do better than others and to get that I-am-better-than-you feeling…!!

I would like to quote a few lines from a book which I read a few days back:

Contentment or happiness derived from material object is nothing but a false belief which fades off as fast as it is felt.

Real happiness comes from within, as it is the soul that possesses the quality of happiness.

Doing good to others, being true to self. Loving all life forms….. This is what actually brings real happiness. :)

Everyone (majorly all of us, not exactly everyone) is trying to get that image of “ye-to-kitna-khush-hai-apni-jindagi-me” in front of others without even reflecting as to whether all the efforts are fruitful or not, whether the final goal is achieved or not..!!

There are so many instances which saddens me and when I see people just competing with their colleagues, friends and even rishtedaar (sounds better than relatives) to be better and happier-it makes me think even more-what are we doing? Why are we doing this? Are we actually getting anything out of it?

I would like to share a few instances (Without pointing any finger to anyone specific, with no offence to anyone but sharing my general observations about people around me-including me for that matter, which makes me think about where the world is going)

One most common main-toh-usse-better-hu (would not have given the same feel in English) example is: One of my mother’s relative threw a party (for any reason-be it a birthday party, or anniversary celebration or any other occasion), another relative (rishtedaar :P) (who can be related in any of the ways) felt obliged (in her head only) to throw a bigger (in terms of money and lavishness) party (even if this person does or does not like parties, has or not enough money, or family wants to do it or not) to show (simply show) that she is better and is happier in her life .!! But she was not looking happy at all in her own party. She was all tensed, anxious and worried…Why? She did everything she wanted to, then also not happy???

People (I don’t know why they matter to all of us, a lot) said- wow, what a fantastic party” okay, great..!! But what did she get out of it? Was she happy? What was the whole point of spending so much money on a party (it is not just about money, but about copying what other person has done just to show that she was happier and better). But to whom?

Happiness comes from within.

I am not saying that whatever she did was wrong and should not have done it the way it was done, but had she done that because she wanted to, then it was great but the whole point is that the final aim was not achieved. She was not even looking happy in her own party. :(

I have met quite a few people in my life and have observed them secretly (not like I stalk people or something:P but just that I am a keen observer by nature and look at the things very carefully)

A few days back one of my cousin visited my place (who is about to get married) and shared with me how the preparations are at peak and how everybody at her place is busy in buying expensive clothes, accessories and other stuff for her marriage. She told me “tum dekhna, meri shaadi meri friend se bhi jada achi hogi, mere papa ne interest pe paise lie hai meri shaadi k lie”. She stopped for a while and I could see her not-so-happy face and could sense that a lot of things were running in her mind. After a few seconds she continued- ‘isse hmari izzat puri rishtedaari me bad jaegi” and continued with her talks.

When she was done, we both were silent for next few minutes and then I broke the silence and asked her- “What are you getting from all this lavish arrangements? Your father will fall in debt for a long period of time after spending so much. Is that really making you happy? Do you really want this?”

She looked at me, thought and replied- “I don’t know, I think yes, I mean I should be happy that I am getting more than my friend (the friend with whom she is comparing her wedding arrangements)” but her face said something else..!!

Was it real happiness?

I have a neighbor who is in her mid- sixties and is living alone from past few years (I don’t know whether by choice or not) and is blessed with all the luxuries in her house-a big well-furnished house having all the necessities such as Air conditioner, refrigerator etc, a maid to cook food and do all the other household chores. I have often seen her talking to random people about random stuff in nearby markets and in our street as well. She tries to stop and talk to everyone she meets. However, on asking her about how it feels to live alone, her response is always on a positive side. She tries to make people believe that she is happy, enjoying all the luxuries in her life and in fact tries to convince others also to live a life like hers. However I have seen that whatever she says is all words. I have not seen that happiness, that spark in her eyes (many of her talks were with my mom when I was standing next to her and hence could sense). Her eyes are always sad, looking for someone to talk to (may be it is all in my head but that’s what I have always strongly felt)

I had a colleague in one of my previous organization who forced her fiancé for an abroad honeymoon just because she had to look happier (cooler, richer or I don’t know what) than her other colleague who was also getting married at the same time and was going abroad. Her fiancé managed an abroad honeymoon but his family was in financial crunch after that.

What did she get out of it? Did that really make her happy? I don’t think so..!!

I fail to understand one small thing- what is more important- “Looking happy in front of other or being happy inside”

For me-what people think should not matter till the time you are happy inside. One should do what makes him/her happy no matter what others are thinking.

It does not matter what makes others happy, what matters is how happy you are, what makes you happy.

Some people might find happiness in showing their happiness to others, but not all of us..!!

Happiness is not just a term but a state of contentment, having peace of mind. A person is happy when he is able to have a sound sleep after a long day.

Real happiness lies in small things- a smile on a girl’s face after losing a few pounds is happiness, spending quality time with your spouse, looking at your mother-sleeping peacefully is happiness, when a friend calls you after a long time to ask about your health is happiness, a father looking at his daughter walking for the first time is happiness, a smile full of contentment on a mothers face when her son gets a job is happiness,  a brother departing his sister to her new family on her marriage is happiness, a meal with all the family members is happiness.

Happiness is not always about showing what you have (or showing more than what you have) (at least not for all of us) but about appreciating what you have.

It is rightly said-

It is not about how much we have, but how much we enjoy-that makes happiness.”

- Charles Spurgeon

Please share your views in the comments section below. :)

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