WHERE DOES HAPPINESS COME FROM?
If there is one thing that everyone is looking for, regardless of their age, religion, gender, profession, caste, creed, beliefs or goals -- Its happiness! The bottom line is…
WE ALL ARE LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS
Pursuit of happiness is the quintessential eternal desire of every human. Then a key question arises- Where do you get happiness from? If you ask this question to a three-year-old toddler, she may respond by saying candy. If you ask this question to a teenager, she may respond by saying friends. If you ask this question to a college student, she may respond by saying fun or grades. You get the idea!
I am no different. There was a time that I placed extrinsic conditions on my happiness. I believed things like, I can only be happy if…
● Everyone in my circle is happy and healthy i.e. family, friends, colleagues
● I have educational and career success (with a somewhat nebulous definition of success)
● I have materialistic possessions
These were just a few conditions I had placed on my happiness, but unfortunately, there were a million more. The fact of the matter was,
I WAS COUNTING ON SOMETHING OR SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF MYSELF, TO ENSURE HAPPINESS FOR ME
CHASING HAPPINESS INTO MY EARLY TWENTIES
With so many conditions, it became nearly impossible to keep a constant steady supply of happiness. On a daily basis, I would find myself irked, agitated, drained, weary, tired, and not being able to be the best version of myself. Life started to become very mundane as I robotically moved on from one task to the next and checked all of the boxes of my daily life commitments. In this process, I found myself to not be able to achieve happiness. I would try over and over again, but it was impossible for me to meet the conditions of my happiness, no matter how hard I tried. The persistent soul in me, never let me give up. I would constantly find myself mending both my internal and external situations to keep the pendulum of my happiness balanced.
As the saying goes, you can only stretch a rubber band so much before it breaks. I, too, came to a breaking point. The pivotal incident in my life that made me change my whole perspective and mindset towards happiness was my college graduation ceremony. On the first day of my college freshman year, I had put an extrinsic condition on my happiness. I would be happy, my family would be happy, my friends would be happy, if I would graduate with the highest honorary distinction of summa, magna, or cum laude. Throughout my college career, I denied myself of true life fulfillment as I was busy chasing after the Latin honorary distinction. My next four years consisted of fear, anxiety, despair, self-doubt and panic, as I navigated through the challenges of achieving my goal. At last, I got what I worked so hard for. My family, friends, and I were so “happy” to learn that I had achieved Magna Cum Laude.
For me though, the happiness did not last long.
My supply of happiness was exhausted in the 61st second of my 60 second trip across the stage to receive my honor. Now what! Was this it! In that very moment, a realization sunk in. I realized that I could not attain happiness by pursuing measures or conditions defined by other people. I was (and am) in charge of my own happiness.
This was a break-free realization for me. The reason that I could not manage happiness was because of “dependency”. I fell prey to the toxic mentality that my happiness depends on something or someone, I kept on delaying interrogating and defining what I truly wanted until all the things were just right in my life or all the conditions of my “happiness” were met. The truth is that I’ll share with you is…
HAPPINESS IS NOT DEPENDENT ON ‘ANYTHING’ OR ‘ANYONE’ OR FOUND ‘ANYWHERE.’ HAPPINESS CAN ONLY BE CREATED BY YOU!
HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. IT IS YOUR DECISION!
Back to square one. Where do we get happiness from? In my quest, I have found three foundational principles to be really helpful in your pursuit of happiness.
#1 ⇢ YOU ARE NOT A SHOWPIECE; YOU ARE A DIAMOND | Your happiness does not depend on how others see you or what others think of you. Your happiness is not dependent upon others… PERIOD! You are the creator of your own happiness. So, stop micro-inspecting yourself through the lens of others. Be someone that you enjoy being, not someone that you need to show off to others. Remember, a diamond shines, not for others, but because it is a precious jewel. You are a diamond.
#2 ⇢ THE WORD “BECAUSE” DOES NOT EXIST IN THE DICTIONARY OF HAPPINESS | If you find yourself thinking of a “reason” or a “because” for happiness, STOP! Your happiness does not depend on anything or anyone. If you keep searching for all the reasons to be happy, this very exercise will not allow you to be happy. You are the creator of your own thoughts. So, tell yourself that from today, you will control your own happiness narrative. What you say makes you feel good is the only truth.
#3 ⇢ YOU ARE A POWERHOUSE | Swimming against the tide requires strength and power. It is a natural tendency to place a condition on happiness. Therefore, removing that condition and thinking through a different lens will require extra effort from your end. So, remember, you are the pilot of your own flight. You have all the power within you to generate your own happiness by changing your thought process, mind, and thereby the course of your happiness. You are the most important source of your positive energy.
Your freedom will begin when you realize that your happiness does not depend on anyone, anything, or anywhere. You are the creator of your own thoughts and hence your own happiness.
Anisha is a STEM enthusiastic educator leader, who thrives on transformational change and refuses to settle for the status quo and inequalities in our educational systems. Anisha’s mission is to develop a holistic approach to education which tends to the needs of a whole child i.e. intellectual, social, and emotional via providing them diversified experiences and exposure that prepares them to succeed in life.
Apart from Anisha’s educational endeavors, she enjoys singing and painting in her free time. Her recent discovery of self-care is walking. She enjoys taking long walks with her husband after dinner to decompress and have some memorable conversations!