What, Where, and When Is Happiness?
Dr Chnanis Kongsuwan Ladha
If we asked ourselves and people around us “What is happiness?”
Each person might have different answers. Realistically, there is no certain definition for what happiness is, as the meaning of happiness is subjective (what each person thinks it means to him or her).
In our modern world, when we look around, it seems that many people think that richness is happiness. People are busy building up the number in their bank account, their credit and their payslips. Think that they would be happy when they have more and more money, a big and bigger house, a fancy car, own a lot of premium branded products, and consume expensive meals all the time. So day in day out, focusing on money and materials, strive to have more like buying happiness.
Some may think that power is happiness. Think that they would be happy when there are a lot of people who respect them, when everyone obeys and works for them as they ordered. Think the world would be their place and they would be happy if everything comes easily as they command. So day in day out, finding a way to have more power, set themselves as a centre of everything.
Some may think that popularity is happiness. Think that they would be happy when everyone knows who they are. Think that they would be happy when they have many acquaintances, are surrounded by a lot of people and yearned for by many guys/girls. So day in day out, searching for fame, socialise around to build more social networks.
Some may think that partying is happiness. Think that the moment of drinking, smoking, shouting, and dancing it all out in the club with super loud music among a number of strangers can make them happy. So day in day out, spending time the same way, partying away to stay in that moment.
Many others may think ‘not giving a ****’ is happiness. Think that they can just do whatever they want, whenever they want. When they can just not care and no need to take care of anything or anyone, they would be happy. So day in day out, try to live like not giving a ****, without realising that there are actually many good things to care for.
Many of us are waiting for happiness, anticipating when the happy days will arrive. Living our lives with a classic sentence “I will be happy when (…)”. For instance:
“I will be happy when I have a girlfriend/boyfriend.” “I will be happy when I’ve got married.” “I will be happy when we have a child.” “I will be happy when I can travel the world.” “I will be happy when I’ve got a job/a promotion.” “I will be happy when I have this much money.” “I will be happy if he/she does this (or doesn’t do that).” “I will be happy when my life is not like this.” And many more other “Happy WHEN” that one can create.
Nearly everyone would have experienced the “Happy WHEN” moment. You might say there is nothing wrong to ‘hope’. However, the “Happy WHEN” is different from hope. While hope is a positive outlook to the future, “Happy WHEN” is the condition that you set. The circumstance about “Happy WHEN” is that, once one “WHEN” has arrived or achieved, another “WHEN” will be set next and so on. There comes the never-ending “I will be happy WHEN…” The condition of your happiness is set from one thing to another, continually on and on and on. So WHEN actually can you be happy?
I’ve also heard from many people, complaining that happiness will never happen to them because their lives are not what they wanted. Everyday they keep asking “WHY” “Why is my life like this?” “Why me?” “Why is my life not the same as his/her life?” “Why aren’t things as I wanted them to be?” And many more complaining WHY that automatically comes with the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. The fact is, in life, there will always be “Why” if you always would like to create one.
Have you every asked yourself what happiness is for you? What will make you happy? What do you actually want in your life to be happy? Before you read further, think about it and please give yourself an answer.
Just like you and everyone, I have answers for myself what happiness is for me. Everyone has something that they want, something that is meaningful for them and something that they think would make them happy. However, I have learnt, nothing can make you happy and nothing can be your happiness, apart of your own satisfaction. No matter how much you have in life, you still cannot be happy. Only the sense of satisfaction within your heart will make you happy. Just the appreciation of little things in your life can make you feel content. Just when you enjoy, appreciate and are satisfied with what you have, that is when you feel the happiness you desire.
So why not try it? Once you have decided to be happy, no one and nothing can stop you. There is no need for anything fancy but the attention in your mind to appreciate and be satisfied with what you have and experience in the present moment. You can be happy once you open your eyes in the morning just because you have today to live and to enjoy. Though the sun is shining, the rain is pouring, the wind is blowing, the snow is falling, no matter how the day is, there is always something to appreciate. Just when you drink a glass of water and feel the refreshing feeling pouring down your throat, you can truly feel satisfied. Just when you listen to the sound of the birds singing, the music playing, or even the quietness around you, you can feel content. Just when you look up on to the sky and see the clouds with the background of blue and perhaps the orange colour of the sunrise or sunset, you can feel blissful.
The happy when is not a thing or a time to come, it is only when you allow yourself to enjoy and appreciate the little things in your life. Then more and more you will feel the happiness you have been waiting for.
All that I have been saying do not mean you can’t have goals or aspirations. It’s not that you shouldn’t dream big and chase for it. It’s not that you need to ignore the reality that is going on around you. Everybody has something to work for, fight for and care for. But along the way that you are working for, fighting for, and caring for those things that you hope for and dream of; just allow yourself and give yourself some moments to sense the happiness in every minute and every day. Then you will know that you do not need to wait for the happy days to come, it is just right there in front of you. No need to wait for time or reasons. No need to expect it from anyone or anything.
How many times already has ‘today’ become ‘yesterday’? Every moment always passes. All events have its present at only one moment for you to enjoy. Only if you appreciate what you have in the present, there will be a satisfaction in your mind. There will be the happiness and fulfilment in your life.
“It’s not how much you have, but how much you enjoy, that’s happiness.”