Happiness. Let’s talk about happiness. It’s the magical thing everyone is in pursuit of. People say it’s everywhere, yet they fail to find it. We’ve all read moral stories about the rich gentleman who had everything in life except happiness. Somehow it has remained elusive throughout the ages.
But, we, people, are indeed happy from time to time. Only when it leaves us, even if temporarily, do we get depressed. So, where do we find this happiness?
The short answer is: we find it in others. Rather, we find happiness through others.
Let me illustrate this with a small example. Consider the following scenario:
If I tell people that this is how I seek happiness when I gift someone, they’ll look down upon me. And it’s not without reason. We, as a society, have agreed that the above behavior is unacceptable. One cannot gift someone, expecting a gift in return.
So, the social norm is more like this:
“I gift my friend to make her happy. If she is happy, that makes me happy”. That doesn’t sound so bad. I’m gifting my friend without expecting anything in return. That makes me a good person, right?
Wrong. I am still expecting. Just not something tangible. I’m expecting my friend’s approval of my gift. I’m expecting her appreciation. Now, not getting it makes me sad.
Yet, we expect. We expect something or the other from everyone. We expect attention from our friends. We expect appreciation from our boss. We expect love from our significant other. When the expectations are not met, we get disappointed. But, do we satisfy our own expectation of us? Probably not. We expect us to perform better at school. We expect us to be fit and healthy. We expect us to lead a happy life. Then, how is it right to expect from others?
Coming back to the pursuit of happiness, my happiness is still two steps away. It has been delegated away to another person.
Instead, why can’t I derive happiness from the action itself? Why can’t I enjoy the process of gifting my friend? Can’t happiness be my action, and not the result of my action?
Now, I am directly responsible for my happiness. I have taken control of my happiness. If she appreciates my gift, that will add to my happiness. If she doesn’t, I’d still be happy.
I believe this change in the perception of happiness is one of the best things you can do to make your life better. If you learn to synthesise happiness from within yourself, you’ll never be sad, you’ll never be disappointed, you’ll never be depressed.
In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna says “Do your duty, do not bother about the results”. What if doing your duty itself can make you happy! This theory can be applied to almost everything in life.