Happiness is an overrated concept.
Clap along if “you know what happiness means to you”.
Most of the people will not be able to pinpoint what exactly is ‘happiness’ to them. It conjures up images of success, luxury satisfaction, contentment, celebration of achievement, elation or just absence of pain or struggle. I have omitted the term ‘euphoria’, due to its transient nature.
It appears that happiness is the consequence of certain other factors in life, and hence, is dependent on those other variables.
A conscious choice
Roget’s Thesaurus drops the following synonyms for Happiness :
- Blisscontentment delight elation enjoyment euphoria exhilaration glee jubilation laughter optimism peace of mind pleasure prosperity well-being beatitude blessedness cheer cheerfulnesss content delectation delirium ecstasy enchantment exuberance felicity gaiety
- geniality gladness hilarity hopefulness joviality lightheartedness merriment mirth paradise
- playfulness rejoicing sanctity vivacity cheerinesss good cheer good humor good spirits
This is the portrait of a popular and like-able personality. These are the kind of people, whose company we enjoy, and we like to be friends with. They rub off their cheer on us, and help us forget our problems for a short time. The value of these ‘do-gooders’ to society cannot be discounted. But are we sure that this is not a façade, or that they do not face any problems in their own lives? Watch them in the milliseconds of their off-guard moments, and the story of their life will be revealed.
Remaining cheerful is a conscious choice that they have made.
No strings attached
We love watching the kitty and puppy and smart kiddos’ videos, as they bring a smile on our lips, for a few minutes. These angels radiate happiness by their innocence, by just being there, by being so oblivious of the hard realities of life. The cookie or the cupcake, the dip in the pool, or that jig appears to be the ultimate aim in life. We love the carefree nature of their existence, and draw on the reservoir for a few moments.
It is a distant memory, it is a dream. It is not what you feel today.
Unconditional love is what we choose and chase.
Happiness is acceptance
But, what do I need to draw on, to be in the state of happiness, not for an enactment of the mental state? Acceptance of life as it happens, could be the answer. And this might take us away from the perceived happiness factors such as success, wealth, health and love. Youth is a happier phase of life, since there are hopes and dreams, for the long stretch of life that lies ahead. As we approach the sunset years, realization strikes that some of our dreams may not materialize. We are undoubtedly, richer with experience, knowledge and wisdom, but not happier, unless we accept reality.
We may radiate an inner peace, and this may lend a feel-good factor to those who care. But that is not the same as the euphoria that we loved to see in others. That euphoria is what gives happiness to others, not our innermost self.
Happiness is Unreal
Happiness is thus, an imagined state, a target that we set for ourselves. Its ‘unreal’ nature makes it highly coveted. If and when we do reach that state, the concept has transformed into peace, acceptance, contentment, Nirvana … whatever the nomenclature that we may choose.
The quest for happiness is thus, a path towards the ultimate goal, not the ultimate goal.