If you have read a book on this topic or are asking this question to yourself, chances are that you are above the poverty line and not worried about putting food on the table on a daily basis. Congratulations!
There are millions of self-help books written on this topic. Every guru/motivational speaker continuously speaks on this topic and there are various sessions/webinars which you can join. Personally, I have also read many books on this topic to find my mantra to happiness.
Is happiness in our basic DNA or have we given unnecessary weight to this topic just by calling attention to it? I believe that happiness is really the core of our existence and everyone inherently wants to be happy. Whatever we do, our final goal is to be happy.
Since the evolution of mankind, people have been told to lead a good, balanced life.
As a student, if you are working hard that is what counts. When you get good grades, you will be happy. When you get bad grades, you will be unhappy and sad. When you attend a friend’s party, you will be happy and if you become the victim of a joke at that party, you will be unhappy but if someone else becomes the target, you will be happy. If an unexpected holiday like a snow day pops up or the postponing of an exam, you are happy. Breakups – let us leave that topic as is.
As an adult, if you get married to someone you love, you are happy. Once you realize that you have a great life partner, you are happy. If you realize that the person is slightly different from your expectation, then you are unhappy. If you start comparing your life partner with others and find flaws in your life, you become unhappy. On the other hand, if you realize that you have a great partner, you are happy again. If your kids are doing the right things, you are happy. If not, you are unhappy.
At work: You got a promotion and now you are happy. You did not get a promotion and you think you deserved it the most, you are unhappy. You find a dream job, you are happy and you are laid off, you are unhappy.
The point is that in your life, situations keep changing. You cannot be happy all the time. I cannot imagine that anyone is happy getting flunked in class or if they get divorced or demoted that they will still be happy.
STOP looking for happiness. STOP asking the question. Lead your normal life. Focus on things that are around you. As per Hinduism: there are 4 stages of life:
0-25 Years – Brahamcharya (Bachelor); 26-50 – Family; 50-75 – Vanprasath; 75+ – Sanyas
In modern times, the analogy could be very simple: student life, family life and finally some philanthropic work.
There are only 2 things that you need to do to be happy.
Start defining your boundaries. As humans, we all have whims and fancies. We all get bored by our monotonous routine and try to deviate. This is applicable in all aspects – be at work, home and friends. If you have deviated from your line of action, admit your mistake and get back on the course. Depending upon your age or stage of life, start doing the right things. If you are young, this is the time to work hard and set yourself on the path to be financially stable. Don’t be a philosopher if you have not earned money (unless that is one way to make money). If you are married and have a family, don’t run away from it looking for happiness. Everyone cannot be Siddhartha. If you have done well in your life, have you impacted other lives? Start thinking on those lines.
Love: Be in love whatever you do. Interact with your loved ones and keep yourself occupied. Value the relationships you have built over the years. Surround yourself with positive people. If you are a shoulder to cry on for a baby all the time, chances are that your shirt is also wet. Give the baby a big hug and bigger parting gift.
It is okay to feel low sometimes but when you wake up the next day, force a smile on yourself. Stop blaming other people for the way you are leading your life. Lead an honest life to yourself and you will never have to read these self-help books or look for happiness.