To be happy is the ultimate goal of our lives; happiness is fundamental for our growth and survival. However, things have changed in our modern life. We prefer to do things which are expected from us rather than the things which make us happy. Why there is such an unwanted shift? Why are we inundated with the feelings of envy, hatred, apathy, greed, ego etc.? Why aren’t we happy, and how can we find happiness?
Happiness is a state of being happy; a feeling or emotion which we all want need. But have you ever wondered about what makes YOU happy? Have you ever given a thought to this simple question? Okay, before we go further, here is one small exercise for you. Take a pen and paper and write down the things which make you uber happy. Yes, do it right now and come back to this article later. I request you to finish this task before you proceed further. Once you are done, take a considerable thought to all the points you wrote; we will discuss about this later. For now, if you have finished the exercise, we have got a good start.
Happiness is a subjective term; its definition varies for different individuals. However, the common aspect lies in the fact that it is one of the most beautiful, desired, crucial, significant, and coveted emotions for the prosperity and growth of our lives, relationships, and connections. Happiness is considered to be the quintessential feeling, and the ultimate goal of our every endeavour is to be content and happy. It gives us hope, purpose and compel us to look forward to the future by acting as a stimulus behind our every attempt. It is fundamental for our survival and growth; we need it for our well being. Life without happiness is a life without meaning, and its deprivation can lead to serious consequences, mentally and physically.
Of course, we are well aware of the above mentioned facts. We all want to be happy as it is the objective of our lives. But things have changed these days; happiness has become a privilege. It is a different world altogether now where in the rat race, we do what is expected from us rather than what we want to do or what makes us happy. There are several discrepancies between our declared choices and preferred choices. Social media engagement has further changed the world where people find solace in virtual recognitions via likes or comments, and this is the sense of belonging they crave, unfortunately. People have put a façade of perfectionism, which in reality does not exist, and prefers to stay in this altered perception of reality.
Furthermore, we expect a return in everything. If somebody needs a favour or any assistance from us, we immediately expect a benefit. And if our reasoning shows no gain in that favour, we make an excuse or try to dodge it. The scenarios of intense competitions, pressure, depression, unrealistic comparisons, greed, ego etc. are rampant. All these instances further leads to confusion and mirror our strange world. We have embarked on a different journey where we have lost the connection with happiness. Or, I should say that we have lost the connection with life.
How can we find happiness?
Enough of the negativity; let’s talk about the positive aspects and the solutions. There are tons of simple gestures that can make you happy and content, and the good news is that it is never too late to start something new. Human beings have a tremendous capacity to bring a positive affirmation of life provided they work diligently for the improvement. The lack of perseverance is not an option, and we must be inspired to execute a job irrespective of the challenges and difficulties. Of course, we must work continuously to bring happiness in our lives, and as I mentioned earlier, there are number of simple ways of achieving this. Happiness is not always connected with money, and as you must be aware of, lot of rich people go through depression and other mental disorders.
In all honesty, we live in a world of chaos, and if we want to bring a change, it has to come from us. And we must begin this by spreading this beautiful feeling – happiness.
Via this article, I have no intention to dictate the rules of being happy because I cannot define happiness for you. It is a subjective term; hence, I will be mentioning Seven Inspirational Quotes which motivate me to be happy and spread the cheer. Again, I share these not to show the rules of being happy but in the hope that these might help someone who is also on the voyage of self-discovery or might bring someone closer to his or her own center of life.
1. Respect others/Empathise – step into their shoes
Respect is something which a person needs to earn; he/she cannot demand it from anyone. Since our childhood, we have been taught “respect the elders”, and I absolutely agree to this. But I take a slightly different stance where I believe that this one-sided respect is ephemeral. The actual respect for elders comes when they too manifests the same feeling to the younger ones. Respect has to be mutual in every relation.
Let me explain this with an example. I love Starbucks, and I never need a reason to visit this coffeehouse chain. I am a coffee-lover, and their coffee is good. But that is not why I visit Starbucks; coffee is just a small part. I go there for the experience which comes from the people, staff, and ambiance. I will cut this Starbucks’ talk short as this is a big discussion topic, and I might cover this in another article; however, there is one thing which I always do at this place.
Whenever I am about to place an order with the barista, I quickly read the name from their nametag, and I address them with his/her first name. I further make sure that I am not using my phone at the time of placing the order as it is a gesture of respect to them. When you manifest this little personal connection and talk to them by appreciating what they do throughout the day, their happiness is so evident. You can feel that you have made their day by recognizing their efforts. Those 2-3 minutes of your time which you spent with them wholeheartedly are quite impactful as it is an indirect way of saying that you value their service.
I have seen people who use their phones while talking to the staff or employees at grocery stores, take away counters, while doing manicure or pedicure etc. I read this in an article that these behaviours from customers make the staff unhappy as they feel that they do not exist and nobody cares for them. But I have seen the impact of two minutes of connection with them, and they remember you throughout their lives. Yes, this is one of the ways I prefer to spread the happiness.
After a while, we take all our relationships for granted, unfortunately, and the best illustration is our moms. If a friend or colleague goes an extra mile to do something for us, we always thank the person with highest regards. But if our moms do the same, we do not even express our gratitude; simply because we take them for granted. Whether it is someone close, an acquaintance, or a friend, gratitude is an excellent way of communicating our appreciation towards a kind gesture, and in whichever relationship we are, the humble act of gratitude can definitely spread the cheer of happiness.
If I loved the food in a restaurant, I definitely express my gratitude towards the chef on a personal note. Similarly, if I am happy with a service at a grocery store, salon, or a café, I make sure that I convey my regards in person to all the people who assisted me. I understand that this is their job for which they are getting paid, but a simple gesture of thanks can make them really happy.
3. Spend quality time with the people you love.
Your valuable time is the best gift you can bestow on someone, and by looking at the intense growth of the social media in this contemporary world, spending quality time with your loved ones, I mean meeting them in person, has become a big challenge, unfortunately. Without a scintilla of doubt, there are tremendous opportunities to grow these days; everyone’s quest for the dream-job and to become a strong contender in this rat race has shifted the focus from the true meaning of relations.
Hence, value your loved ones – families and friends – in your life rather than taking them for granted. Pay gratitude to the people we have been blessed with instead of whining about the things which we do not have. Do not hold grudges; do not cling to them. Forgive people and let the negative energy leave your body and mind. Spend wonderful time with the people in your life because that is how we create great memories so that we can cherish them forever.
Like most of us, my husband and I have a busy life. We love what we do in our professions; however, we make sure that we spend quality time with each other. For example: while having our food, we do not watch TV or any other source of entertainment and that is the time I look forward to everyday. Also, before we go to bed, we spend some time with each other – no phones, no laptops or any other gadget – where we discuss our day, and this simple act makes me uber happy.
4. Sharing the knowledge/ Empowering others and bringing a positive change in their lives.
In my 7-8 years of professional experience, I have seen many insecure people who do not prefer to share their knowledge with others due to the fear of lagging behind in this fiercely competitive world. Fortunately, I am not one of them. I get the utmost pleasure in sharing my knowledge with the right kind of people and empowering them with the intention of bringing a positive change in their lives. It is a blissful experience for me, and this endeavor of inspiring others through the right guidance without the expectation of any return gives me extreme happiness.
For example: My fervent desire to share my knowledge with others has compelled me to become a blogger and an aspiring writer. This passion of SHARING all my leanings and even mistakes with the intention of bringing a positive element in people’s live makes me super content and happy.
5. Connecting with yourself.
This is one of the most important elements of experiencing happiness. It is crucial to connect with yourself which includes spending time with yourself. Most of the women have the tendency to think about others first; always keeping themselves as the last priority – they are genetically programmed for this behavior. I request them to shift from this attitude and start devoting time for themselves. And this message is for everyone – all men and women – as it regenerates the power of life and having a deep understanding of your personality, aspects of growth, passion, etc. can give a different meaning to life. It further helps you to understand your sense of purpose and the center of your life.
I always find solace and a comfort in connecting with myself where I only think about MY work, passion, growth, areas to improve, new endeavors to work on, new books to read, new places to explore, new dishes to try etc. This is another gesture which provides me happiness.
6. Value what you have.
As I mentioned earlier, there are times when we take people and our relations for granted. Trust me, these moments indicate a downfall where relations suffer and people grow apart from each other. These days humans hardly have a complete sense of contentment and serenity. We lack the feel of pride in what we have, and instead, we covet what others have. Therefore, we must value and respect the people in our lives in a dignified manner. Nobody is perfect; nobody is complete. We will always lack something or the other; hence, instead of whining about the things which we do not possess, let’s make a promise to value the people we are blessed with in our lives.
We all are gifted; we just need to recognize those gifts in ourselves. Indulge yourself into some hobby or extra-curricular activity which you love to do but have not done in years. Bring that spark again and see the difference. It can be music, dancing, some sports, poetry, writing etc. Most of us do jobs to fulfil the basic necessities, but if you want to be truly happy, try to pursue some long-lost dream and make it a basic necessity for your happiness.
7. Stop being materialistic.
Do you crave for a stylish kind of furniture for your home? Do you dream of a luxurious car or a big house? If that is the case, you are being absolutely materialistic who is devoid of the simple pleasures of life; no offense :-). There is no end to humans’ wants; it is a vicious circle where our cravings for these materialistic possessions keep on growing by time, spreading the misery of slavery, eventually. Yes, we become slave to them and money as our unbridled desires never come to an end.
Let’s take an example: Poor person thinks that once he becomes rich, he will buy house, car, and expensive furniture which will provide him the happiness. But look at the millions of people who have their own homes. Are they happy and satisfied? The truth is that rich people become slave to luxury and money that they cannot live a simple life. They are not free and have become prisoners to all these things. People think that they control things but it is the other way around in reality.
Always keep life simple where there is no dependency on the materialistic things once your basic necessities are fulfilled.
I stay in Mumbai, and believe me when I say that I do not own a car. It is not because I cannot afford; the reason is that I have never felt its need as the transportation is very good in Mumbai. I do not face any difficulty in my commutation. My husband and I love to experience different cultures; hence, we move from one place to another after few years. So I never buy any furniture for my home as we always prefer a fully furnished flat so that it is easy for us to move when a great opportunity arrives at our door step. I do not care whether I will have my own house or not because a rented apartment is more than a home to me when my family is with me. A house becomes a home because of the people you love and value.
Now take out that paper where you mentioned the things that make you happy. Are there any similarities? Yes? Wonderful; I am delighted. No? Does not matter; may be it is the right time to implement the things which you noted down. We have got one life; hence, live it the way you want rather than living it under the pressure of the expectations. Strive to grow in your work and passion rather than in your materialistic desires.