The other day as I was on a walk I found myself wondering if I was happy with my life. The ultimate answer is yes, and people who know me know I am happy, but I wanted to dig deeper because I think it's worth taking some time to think about it. Happiness is something that is not easy to define or even understand, and I feel like people often forget what it means.
I promised myself to write fairly regularly on this blog, and this specific topic is very dear to my heart. Of course this is only a dump of my thoughts, I'm not trying to settle anything here in any way.
What a difficult thing to define and measure, happiness. How does it really happen? Can I control it? Why does it come and go? My perception or definition of happiness will probably be different to yours, and yours will be different to someone else's. Although it's not something easy to identify, happiness is one of the things that drive us in life. It is what we all aim for. It is the reason behind many of the things we put effort into. Still, everyone will experience it and express it in their own way.
I feel happy when I see people I love, when I hear from them or think about them. I feel happy when I dance, when I run, when I eat something I like or do something cool. I'm always up for discovering new places, learning something new, meeting new people, because these things make me happy. The list goes on.
Some people think that money and possessions can make them happy. There can be something very exciting in the wait and acquisition of something we fancy, but that's merely down to desire, which brings more satisfaction than happiness. Or if it contributes to making you happy, it doesn't last very long in time. I am a big believer in people and what they can achieve together, therefore I see happiness as directly linked to the way we relate to each other as humans.
The small things in life
We all have different stories, backgrounds and experiences. We evolve in different types of environments and it's probably not easy for everyone to be happy as much as they would like. However, I believe that there is always room for improvement and a way to shift things over time, as long as you're willing to make a change. First of all, and this is very important, you need to be authentic, honest and comfortable with who you are. If you're not at peace with yourself, you will have to gain more self esteem. That's where it starts.
A dear friend of mine said it's a question of energy. That if you're nice to others and have a positive mindset and behaviour, then you can expect the same in return and it will most certainly come back to you at some point. Attitude breeds attitude. Contribute to something, help people, be nice, share what you know, etc. Making other people happy is a natural and great source of happiness.
Working with startups on a daily basis reminds me that creating something by yourself is quite satisfying and brings more happiness in your life. So, create something every day if you can, it doesn't need to be big or complicated, and if in some way it can help others, that's even better. For instance, I recently started to spend more time cooking and found that there is something great about preparing a meal that you will then share with your family or friends.
Don't wait for happiness to find you
I don't believe in chance much. Nor do I think that happiness is something that can only happen in the future, as some people do. There is no point in waiting for happiness to hit us, when we can make it happen ourselves. Don't get me wrong, it's important to have goals and dreams in life, just don't think you'll only be happy once you've achieved them.
Identify what makes you happy, and whatever it is, try to do it more. Adjust your mindset and your behaviour with other people. Open your mind, do things differently or things you don't usually do, discover new places and new things in general. Change is good for you, simply breaking your habits could make you a different person. Take some time to think about who you are, what you're doing here and what your motivations are. Try to be a good person. Don't be a dick.
One last thing, before you go and train to become a happiness hero, just remember that it's important to find a meaning in all the things you do. If you put your efforts into something that means a lot to you, something that you're passionate about, then you're more likely to get fulfilment and sustainable happiness. Go ahead, brew your own happiness, embrace it and spread it.
Of course it's ok not to be happy or even to be sad. However, if you're not happy with this you can always learn how to be happier! Feelings can be hard, but I like to think that experience and practice can teach you how to manage them better.