Happiness is not gift wrapped


Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.  ~Denis Waitley

A strange fact that amuses me is that people from advanced, developed and progressive countries travel to what are called third world countries, or under developed countries in search of Happiness, Peace and the meaning of life. Where as, people from such countries migrate to the advanced and developed countries in search of progress, wealth, career, freedom and security. Either way, neither of them seem to be happy where they are.  People with the most advanced of technology, freedom and many things that make life easier are not happy and those who do not have any of these are unhappy too. Strange isn’t it?

I have often asked myself and several of my friends what they would do once they have accomplished and fulfilled all their desires in life. Like, if you have got your ideal house, live in your ideal city or location, have an ideal family, and financially are very well and secure, what would you want to do next?  And I began writing their answers in several small notes and pieces of paper and kept them. What I found from all of their answers was almost very profound and extremely interesting.  Almost all of them said they would want to do these things:

Be charitable and help the needy.

Adopt or sponsor an orphan.

Help the poor and not so well off people in their family.

Take up an artistic hobby. That is writing a book, paint, write poetry etc.

Pay more attention to their faith and become better people.

Be more forgiving and go seek those they have hurt in the past and seek their forgiveness.

Make peace with those they have been upset with and help bring those they know who are angry with each other together.

These were the things almost all of them said they wished to do once all their life desires were fulfilled. And when asked why, all of them said mostly because they always wanted to do these things but are too busy fulfilling their dreams and desires. And they also said that if they do these things listed above, they will bring more meaning to their lives and feel they have accomplished something and make themselves worthwhile and meaningful. By doing these, it will bring them lot of happiness and peace.

What makes me wonder is why do we wait to fulfill all our desires and wishes before we do such things? Why can’t we do almost all of these things now, today and make our lives more meaningful and become lot happier right now? Why can’t we do these and bring ourselves this happiness and peace today?

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.  ~Mark Twain

What comes in between happiness and ourselves is our own choices and actions. The circumstances around us has always been changing and will continue to do so until we perish. And in this life we will set several goals for ourselves to achieve. Some we may accomplish and some we may not. But the true happiness is not experienced when we achieve the goal or after achieving it. True happiness lies in the journey. The process where we spend most of our respective lives.

It takes, once again, a simple process of self-awareness and understanding of our needs, wants, and our desires in life to truly realize true happiness. Often we will find many little things that we can derive happiness from. And many a times we may realize that we already have them but we never took the time to realize it.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.  ~Frederick Keonig

Once a person I knew told me a little story about happiness which I found very profound. It was about a little boy who was at a fair holding his Dads’ hand and having a good time. Suddenly, his Dad left his hand and stopped to talk to a friend he found in the crowd. The boy walked a few steps further and realized that his Dad was not around him and he began to cry. And the people who were passing by wondered why a little boy amidst a fair with all the wonders and amusements a child would enjoy was not unhappy and crying. They could see this boys’ Dad beside him, but the little boy couldn’t due to the crowd around him and hence continued to cry.  Thus, what we assume gives us happiness may not be true. The materialistic things, momentary happiness, instant gratification by purchasing fancy gadgets or clothes is not what truly makes us happy. Like the little boys’ experience, true comfort and happiness lies in relationships more than any materialistic things that money can but. We often see the wealthiest people and several celebrities becoming extremely self-destructive when faced with loneliness. We may aspire for success, wealth, and many things in life, but they soon become meaningless if we do not have anyone to share them with. Similarly we can be the individual who brings meaning and love into other peoples’ world. We can become the source of happiness for others. True happiness, and peace lies within us. We need to search within and realize the many gifts we take for granted. Happiness is around us and in our choices, attitude, actions and  relationships. Friends, families, children, often bear more significance in our lives than we realize. But it is also important for us to realize and choose what we share with these people. Do we want to share our bitterness, hatred, frustration, anger, stress? Or rather share our happiness, success, and all good things about us that will make them happy and perhaps inspire them to be happy too?

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years.  ~Bertrand Russell

What are the things we can do to become much happier in our lives? :

  1. Learn to leave the past where it is supposed to be and move ahead in life.
  2. Do well in your job and work smart to succeed.
  3. Smile always.
  4. Do not be overly critical of others and the mistakes they do in their lives. Let them be. You work on being better first.
  5. Show the people dear to you that you care.
  6. If you get a chance, go out with a kid and play.
  7. Forgive others and do not hold on to any prejudice.
  8. Count your blessings.
  9. Be charitable. Help the needy and poor regardless of their cast, color, faith or country.
  10. Do something creative.
  11. Move to and live close by to your friends and family.
  12. Share a joke with someone.
  13. Be self-reflective and make changes for the better in yourself.
  14. Let go of your stubborn ego for someones happiness.
  15. Flips through some old family pictures in an album.

I am sure that there are thousands of things we can do to be happier… what you can do is your choice. Your happiness is in your hands, it is not going to be gifted to you!

 

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2 responses to “Happiness is not gift wrapped

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