This is an introspective soliloquy between me and myself seeking the truth about Happiness. “She” is referred to as her inner voice.
“If you want to be happy, be.”
Leo Tolstoy’s mere, short, raw line convinced me in a way no theories around happiness could. “Then what stops you?”
She is loud, brutal, crisp and clear, although she never speaks aloud. The Covid situation had me convinced that folks are more miserable than they have ever been. But the greater truth is that the discourse about happiness has not changed much for as long as 3000 years (runs back to the Greek and Roman civilisation).
What then was causing such aggressive statements pressing on unhappiness, annihilation, extinction, disintegration and dissolution?
“Innovation is, in fact, the root cause of all dissatisfaction, the root cause of unhappiness. How can it be that you think something consistently needs to satisfy you?” she told me.
“I concur that innovation itself has changed. Yet, human instinct has not. You all have been despondent, forlorn, hopeless, and tragic since the beginning of the progress.”
I could gather she was hinting at my (read our) reliance on external forces—and how I continued to partner joy with those things; things like family, profession, fame, love and money.
“What next? When you have employment that you love? A decent connection with your accomplice? A lot of cash? Ample fame? Will it be it?” she interrogated.
I felt a jab in my stomach as she spoke. She continued anyway.
“You run after value more than happiness. But value is finite. It will multiply one day. It will end the next day. And you, my dear, shall have little or no control on the circumstances most often than not.”
I resounded with that thought since it places ourselves off the steering wheel of the ship that our destiny eventually rides. I was finally beginning to understand that my dependency on values—external forces needed to lessen.
She had a deeper insight:
“You need to gauge the one thing that makes each one of those things justified, despite any ups and downs: your own joy. It is an inquiry you can possibly do when you consider this on a more profound level. Most of us never consider estimating bliss. Then again, we essentially accept we realise how to do it.”
The lone measure for bliss could be, “Am I depending on a person or thing to satisfy me?”
I need your response to be “no”.
“Let me clarify. You need to love your work, family, lover alike, however, don’t depend on them to be happy. Simply be.”
I was beginning to acknowledge the beauty of her thought. I was beginning to acknowledge that life was too short to even consider going through misery. We can’t place our joy in others’ power—not any person, not any thing, nothing.
Satisfaction is a perspective. It’s completely inside your control. Much the same as you can settle on a choice to accomplish something productive with your time, you can conclude that you are happy. It’s only easy to accuse your work, mate, family, or even the world for your misery.
I meet individuals all the time who state that the world is a shrewd spot. Truly, downright awful, I end up peopling. However, that is not even in my control. So might as well get it over with and let different things make you less hopeless.
“It’s an ideal opportunity to quit being a skeptic.” She interfered my holy chain of unending thoughts.
“Keep in mind, you needn’t bother with motivation to be glad. That is the entire thought in one sentence. In any case, saying it is totally different from really living it.”
You should simply be cheerful. And you are.
I had to, however, share with her my recent shattering experience. I told her how quite recently I had emerged from an exceptionally involved relationship which went on for right about twenty years. Not just has it been awful to emerge from the fact that we have two kids together, but it has hurled fear from numerous years ago that I haven’t needed to stress over: being all alone.
From around the age of 17, I have seldom been alone. I have either been seeing someone of shifting lengths or dating—even my dating spells haven’t been ‘easy going’. I think part about the explanation behind this is that I love being seeing someone. I appreciate most parts of it—sharing, talking, fun, closeness, security, fellowship. Indeed, as long as these associations are glad, there truly isn’t much about it that I disdain.
I have consistently worked and brought in money, I have a few friends that I stay in contact with continually. I am very used to travelling alone. Particularly alone actually.
How then, in such an intense situation, was I still supposed to be happy? I had to ask her as much as tell her that it was easier said than done.
“You can adapt alone. You need not race into anything and remember that this time alone will be both therapeutic and a decent expectation to absorb information. Accept that you are simply a sentimental young lady and that you put stock in genuine romance. At a genuinely depressed spot, you might meet a fab new person in a year’s time. What might you do? The values, as we spoke will change.”
I thought for a second.
“Well,” I said. “I surmise I’d rather make every moment count, spend time with my children, my friends and my family.”
I’m anticipating making some flawless memories with the one thing that’s in my control—my happiness.
Cover Image from iStock by Getty Images.
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