A cup of... Happiness?
Happiness. Something so many of us want so badly. We could give anything to be happy. We crave for happiness. Just like for a nice hot chocolate...
Happiness. But what is happiness? How do we experience happiness? What do we feel when we are happy? What makes us feel happy? When was the last time we were happy? Truly? Deeply?
These are just some of the questions I have been thinking of recently... and what a mere coincidence, just in the run up to the International Day of Happiness...
Do we have to be happy? Do we/Can we always be happy? Do we have to prove it that we are happy? Does a smile equal happy? Do we need big things to make us happy? Do we have to achieve something to be happy? Is appreciation, acceptance, love the key to happiness? Do we have to compare ourselves to others to be happy?
Can we make others happy? Can others make us happy? Can our environment or material things make us fully happy? What if we have it all, given the best conditions and surrounding, health and wealth, and we realise we are still not happy? Do we need comfort to be happy?
So what makes us happy? Who makes us happy? Do we need things/others to make us happy? Can we make ourselves happy?
And last but not least: Why do we stop ourselves from being happy?
Yes, these are awesome questions! I wish there was a universal answer for all of them. But I guess it is rather subjective, varying from person to person. The point here is, to reflect a bit on what can we do, ourselves, about it. How can we allow ourselves to be happy. How can we enjoy being happy. How can we just be happy.
No matter what we do. No matter where we are. No matter who we are.
Without thinking of other distracting thoughts. Because deep down it's often me, and me alone, who is stopping myself from being really and truly happy...
So what do we really need or seek to get truly to that so longed state of happiness?
I don't know, I am still looking for some answers... Millions of people have been asking this question for centuries. Many methods have been developed to help reach that stage, across cultures, all around the world.
The World Happiness Report, ranking 156 countries by the level of their happiness (where New Zealand ranks the 8th!!!), might be a thought-provoking piece of document to dig into and compare some findings. Maybe have some conclusions on how the quality of life, GDP, the cultural backgrounds and traditions, the environment people live in have to do with how happiness spreads out in our lives.
I particularly found this piece of info very interesting, and very relevant, too: "Living organisations are needed, including those already provided by many religions, in which people meet regularly for uplift and mutual support. To create secular organisations of this type in addition to religious institutions is an important opportunity to promote well-being in the 21st century." and "The world needs an ethical system that is both convincing and inspiring."
No wonder mindfulness and meditation workshops are becoming more and more popular... No wonder people want to reach out towards each other more and more.
There is also a Special Edition in addition to the Report this year, also worth a read. As a parent, I got particularly interested in Chapter 4 dealing with the extremely good question: do kids make us happy? (My personal answer is yes btw!) The following sentence struck me in a way, and not: "The negative effect of parenthood on life satisfaction is found to be significantly stronger in countries with higher GDP per capita or higher unemployment rates."
So yes, some bits and pieces of food for thought, as this year it is already the 4th report, published just some days ahead of the UN International Day of Happiness, celebrated on the 20th of March. Lots of interesting data in there, if someone wants something more scientific :) It's pretty serious if you think of the fact that 4 governments have already appointed happiness ministers! (Bhutan - the initiator of the day, and Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.) Mmm, I sense some good business here for the future... :)
Anyway, back to my humble conclusions for today, that will stick to a more emotional level... Not proven, not granted, just playing around with some observations...
Maybe it's not necessary to aim for big things.
Maybe it's not the right focus to so ultimately wanting to be happy.
Maybe the key is letting go. Maybe it's going with the flow. And more and more happiness will just come when there is a space ready to fill in?
Maybe it's stretching comfort zones so too much comfort doesn't lead to unhappiness, as contradictory as it may sound.
Maybe it's enjoying the happy road instead of focusing on the happy destination.
Maybe surrounding ourselves with the right people - first and foremost, with our happy selves.
Without setting conditions, prerequisites and blockages. Because we all deserve to be happy! :)
"Be the change you wish to see in the world!"
Happy Happiness Day!!! To me and you both! :)
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