What is happiness? Where does one find it? How does one obtain it?
There's no real definition or proven fact by scientists what happiness is, and how it can essentially be obtained. But let me just say, happiness isn't something sought to be looked for. I'm not one to say this is the core answer to happiness, but with experience and what I believe, Happiness can be derived from a simple appreciation and the act of giving.
From what I observe most people always speak of their future and how'll they be happier after achieving certain goals/dreams. Most people's perception of happiness is by binding to the idea that the future is where success & happiness is. Not only do others perceive this but I, myself am occasionally guilty of this.
A vast majority of people live in the 'not now', they are psychologically represented by disregarding everything they have in that moment. The human race is always on the run by having the aim to simply 'get through the day' rather than actually enjoying the day. Every day, I continuously look forward to the end of the day, leaving university, leaving my job, and finishing up all my work, just till I reach the end of the day only to repeat the same cycle.
'Until you give the idea that happiness is somewhere else, you'll never really be happy where you are.' - Dr. Holden
By focusing on living into the future, and ignoring living in the present you essentially dissatisfy yourself to focus on what you don't have rather than appreciating what you do. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having goals, dreams, or aspirations. It's amazing to be so motivated and fulfilling such desires. But by doing so I personally believe this is where most people's happiness lacks in the PRESENT.
By keeping high expectations of happiness & life for the future, expectations will steal the gifts and pleasure of what's sitting right there in front of you. Society is so concerned about creating this image in your mind of happiness and this perfect picture of the future that we forget to appreciate what is there. We often so bind our expectations onto something so singular we end up forgetting other little aspects in our life that add the reason for joy.
True contentment comes when you value what's in front of you, rather than an idealized view of what you perceive to want/need. - Zoha Rahman.
So just by appreciating any aspect of your life, your family, friends, maybe your significant other, your job, the home, the meal on your dinner table, the dream job... anything- you can simply achieve happiness. It all starts with a new mindset and attitude. Your energy reciprocates what you train your mind to think. So start letting go of all the negativity in your life, enjoy every day as it comes, and make memories & experiences now.
The Act of Giving
Many researchers, authors, and public speakers claim that we may get longer-lasting happiness just by giving to others & being useful, rather than receiving for ourselves. Of course, there's the pleasure of receiving what we want, but how long will that temporary happiness last?
- You buy something, and you think that makes you happy.
- You hook up with people and think that makes you happy.
- You get a well-paying job you don't like, and think makes you happy.
Society often lives off this constant cycle of this temporary & perceived happiness, but in reality, to obtain happiness I BELIEVE it's the act of giving.
I notice my happiness derives from giving to people and being of use to someone. There's a different kind of happiness you feel when you could be of use to someone or make someone's day. It doesn't necessarily mean gifting people with material things to make them happy, but just by presenting simple acts of kindness.
For example a hot day there is nothing as good as a cold glass of fresh water. You don't have to go to the store for it. Yet when you give it to someone who is thirsty, you can have the happiness that comes from giving.
I too have experienced this act of giving. Just a couple of days ago in downtown Toronto, I was simply walking into the mall passing by an old man holding a hat asking for money. As most people do, I also kept walking, solely for the reason that I never carry cash. As I looked back, something hit me that I didn't want to be that selfish person. I remembered carrying a lot of change that day, I walked back and gave him all the change I had. I looked down at his hat and before giving it, I saw how he only had two quarters. He then thanked me and said I was the first person to acknowledge him within the past few hours he was there and added on how he can finally have his dinner. In that moment I felt joy in knowing I had made someone else's night, and by making acts of kindness.
We can give to people not only with possessions/things but through our words and time. We can simply give kindness just by asking someone how their day went and taking the time to listen. Take the time to clean the house so your mother can rest, compliment someone on their hair/clothing /job well done or even comfort someone in need.
I truly believe everyone must 'practice giving.' and make it a habit. By doing so we will be busy making others happy and ourselves.
As Aristotle would say 'the most important factor in the effort to achieve happiness is to have a good moral character - 'complete virtue.'
Thank you for reading my perception of 'happiness'.