Happiness is just a choice

Let me describe my ideal day. In the center of a semi-circle room, lies a comfy recliner, the room is filled with stacks of books. The entire room is dimly lit, while a reading light is placed on top of the recliner. I find a very comfortable position on the recliner and seat myself. In one hand I hold a very long glass filled with cranberry soda, mixed with a dash of lime, with lots of ice and in another hand I am holding my favorite book. I am sitting there for hours together, enjoying the book, completely closed to the outside world. Most importantly, enjoying the solitude.

 Happiness – feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.

 Everyone is so busy with the “pursuit of happiness“, they tend to forget there are other emotional elements to be appreciated as well. The society has set a standard to determine if a person is happy or not. Its like they have a measuring tape always ready in their brains, and if you fall under the scale, you are happy else you are sad or arrogant. The problem is most people think – ‘she/he is not behaving the way I want to, so she/he must be not happy’. These set of standards created by this society has only put our younger generation under a lot of pressure to find the things they are happy about. We don’t teach them to go and find their happiness, rather we tell them a list of things which they should run after, if they wanna be happy.

Lets get real for a second, you don’t have to feel happy about the things I feel happy about, and it doesn’t work that way. I have been through a lot of things to find this so called happiness. So, basically I am an introvert, people around me are all extroverts. They are happy going out, participating in social activities, talk to each other and to new people with such ease. It made me very anxious, every-time people kept pointing at me saying I was shy, and I feel shy talking to people or to even get out, it kinda put a lot of pressure on me. It made me think, maybe something was wrong with me. They weren’t ready to accept me for who I was. In school, it was parent-teacher’s meet. For some reason, my teacher came outright and asked my parents, if I was depressed. 

And all this because I didn’t meet the list of requirements set by them. It always felt like happiness is a responsibility enforced upon us. So, I wanted to find why all this fuss about happiness. I have this practice of experimenting with my comfort zone. I have done different things to break my comfort zone at different points of my life. All this experiments have helped me a lot in figuring out myself and broadening up my mind. I started reading a lot of books, trying to understand people’s behavior by observing them, try to talk to people whom I thought were different than normal people. That is when I came to realization, there are other more important feelings to also consider. Just because I am quiet and not talking to people, doesn’t mean I am not happy. If anything I am more than happy with that. I am happy being myself, enjoying the solitude and little things in my life. 

Happiness is important, but it is not everything to me. I knew that an emotional stability is far more important than happiness. Any given day I would prefer peace of mind over happiness. Eventually, I figured out what are the things that makes me happy. A simple book can make me happy, a quiet and alone day makes me happy, providing to people makes me happy, a very simple and delicious meal makes me happy, an insightful and deep conversation makes me happy. The important reason I was able to figure out all this, was because I was able to accept me for who I am.

Happiness isn’t everything in life, it should just be an another choice provided to us among many. We need to teach our younger generation to experience all wide range of emotions. We need to tell them, its ok to feel sad, or even sometimes cry. We need to teach them to be empathetic to others, to understand what others are going through. Teach them to find out things that can make them happy, rather than telling them what made us happy. Accept them for who they are – this is very difficult for most of older generation parents. And most importantly, teach them to accept themselves for who they are. 

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