Some days ago, I met with a good friend, and we had a blast talking about what it means to be happy. You see, I have been questioning the concept of happiness for quite a while now, like REALLY questioning it, you know? And I am confident that I have FINALLY settled on my own concept of it. Or perhaps it is contentment I have defined? No, it can’t be since contentment would be more like just being satisfied with what I have and is included in my definition of happiness, but happiness goes beyond what contentment is. Yeah, so, either way, let’s just please talk about happiness, k?
We often hear people saying, “Will I ever be happy?" or "I need peace!" Well, if we wanna live a life of happiness, we must first define happiness for ourselves (and the definition is bound to vary from person to person). If we wanna live a life of peace and satisfaction, we must first define these as well then -- i.e., what makes us happy, and are those our needs or wants or what? Can we be happy without them, too? When do we feel at peace? And, most importantly, how can we tell when we are at peace or are happy?
~ What is Happiness?
According to my new thoughts, happiness is a mental state in which our mind and heart are most at ease. We create this happiness ourselves, though with some outside influence (such as life circumstances and other individuals), but it is how much of a say we let this outside influence have that determines our happiness – or the lack of it. The happier we are, the more we're proving to ourselves that no one and nothing else controls us, that we can be happy in spite of the illnesses (sick people, sick ideas, etc.) that prevail all over us. We don't need anything or anyone else to make us happy, and IF we believe we do, then we'll never achieve full and sincere happiness; we'll always be unstable. And IF we choose to let others decide if we'll experience happiness or not, then we must be careful in WHOM we give that right (or privilege, I shall say) to. This is when choosing our circle of friends carefully plays a vital role: if we're with the wrong people, we'll never allow ourselves to be happy. Now, if there are circumstances in our lives that are causing our unhappiness and lack of satisfaction or denying us peace, then we should do something about it and try to get out of it. If there is nothing we can do about it, however, then we should just stay with them an find happiness within the confines of those circumstances. We should live up to them, unless we can do something about it, and all shall be well. It may sound too impractical or unrealistic and all, but that's where inner satisfaction / happiness lies. And, actually, no, it’s NOT impractical or unrealistic because I myself am feeling on top of the world right now for having decided that I am in charge of my own happiness; no one will do anything to take MY happiness away from me, and never shall I ever do anything to take someone else’s from them.
~ Giving Others Power Over Us
I have also gathered that happiness and inferiority go hand-in-hand. In one of the Princess Diary movies, this guy tells the princess, "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." (I believe this quote was originally told by Eleanor Roosevelt.) I think it was from that moment (which was like, what, three or four years ago when I watched the movie?) that I started wondering if I give others the consent to make me feel inferior. When we let others make us feel down, we are submitting to other people’s wishes and expectations and thereby suffering from an invisible form of inferiority complex – yes, which would be that they don’t realize that they have the illness.
In essence, when we are happy – and I mean REALLY happy, like when both our heart and mind are at ease and relaxed – we have won the battle against those who think they have power over us, since the more unhappy we are, the more authority we have given others over us. The important thing, therefore, is to never let anyone – or anything – else have ANY power over us. Things will go wrong in our lives, and people will hurt us (but the secret is to just laugh at them for being such asses, LOL. k, sorry, that was a joke.), but it is how we interpret these happenings that can decide whether we'll be happy or not.
~ Sorrow and Happiness
However, I think I should also mention sorrow here since both sorrow and happiness go hand-in-hand, and we can’t expect to be happy all the time. Yeah. Well, let’s see. If we ALWAYS interpret our surroundings circumstances I mentioned earlier in a way that'll ALWAYS make us happy, then that's not real happiness, either. In order to feel real happiness, we must feel sorrow so that we know that happiness is basically the lack of sorrow. Naturally, there will come times when no matter what we do or think, sorrow will be taking over, and there’s nothing wrong with that except when we let it take control too much, too many times.
But ultimately, we all have our own source of happiness, different for each person. What makes one person happy may not make another person happy, or at least in the same way or to the same extent. Similarly, the way we deal with our happiness, as with our sorrows, differ, or even what gives birth to these two. So it's just a matter of figuring out what those sources and ways are and then learning to deal with them in a way that will give us some power in our feelings.
All in all, our happiness is up to us, and if we let others define or decide it for us, then we're in a way submitting to their will; and when we submit to the will of others (unless it is to God's, of course), we'll never find the ultimate state of happiness. And this is achievable because – as I shared earlier. Still, we should try to balance our feelings and emotions, however, so that it's not JUST happiness that is ruling our lives but also some sorrow. After all, how can we know we are happy -- or appreciate it -- when we have never felt its opposite?