Note: this post was first published on Medium
I have been thinking about what the word happiness really means to me. I think it’s a misnomer, in that the concept of happiness misleads and makes believe that it is attainable consistently when in reality happiness is an expression which frequently fluctuates and is inconsistent. Balancing this happiness within ourselves, if there’s such a thing as consistent balancing act, is a state of mind that many of us find difficult to attain. It is in many cases not attainable as the situation in which we are inevitably has an effect on how happy one can be. Happiness to me is a momentary realization depending on the situation.
Not everyone can remain happy all the time. It is also quite abnormal to not experience a variety of emotions. No one, out of the many people I know, has always been happy or content with their lives. Yet, happiness is the one ‘goal’, ‘aim’, desire that we long to strive for. Maybe the reason that we desire for happiness or say things like “I just want to be happy” is because it is a difficult emotion.
We tend to have various goals in life which can make us happy once the goals are achieved. Sadly, these goals are also momentary. They do not last forever. To consistently do the same thing that makes us happy without thinking of it as a tedious task (once we are used to it) might be the only way to remain happy. However, a lot of research also suggests that learning new things and not doing the same thing repeatedly is key to happiness. This makes me believe that there is no mantra or set principles that we can define that will make us happy – individual happiness also varies on a large scare and an aspect that makes one individual happy might not be effective on another individual.
As much as we believe that we are individually responsible for our happiness this is not true. Society and the environment we live in tremendously impacts on the way we feel. We can choose to ignore things and avoid instances that do not make us happy but we are not in control of the situation around us many times. The place we live in, the partner we choose, the school we go to, the behavior of our colleagues, the people we meet in a cafe, the friends we make, the family we are born into, the childhood experiences we have inevitably have an effect on our emotions – although we can choose to control our emotions, most of the times it is a reaction to the life we surround ourselves with.
I therefore find it challenging to be happy. I am satisfied with myself, yes. But happiness although related is not the same as it is an everlasting desire that we need ‘to achieve’ most of the times.