Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I read this piece somewhere about happiness. It's quite funny how much /actual/ research goes into the subject as personal as happiness. Psychologists and neurosurgeons spend millions of dollars and decades of research time into happiness or what makes people happy. This week has been about one epiphany after the other. From one major decision to another, from one life changer to another. There were a few things I believed about 'happiness'. But the last week I realised something else, Happiness is hardwork. Nobody is perennially happy. Chasing perennial happiness is perhaps as ridiculous an idea as immortality. Sounds interesting, even achievable but is obviously impossible.
In a exercise I tried to list the things all the things that made me happy, here's the clincher; nothing makes me happy for a long time. No writing, reading, sleeping, eating, no amount of conversations, no perfect job. Nothing. Nothing has enough power to keep me happy for a long time. But then I also realised some things make me more happy than the others like say talking to my mum made me more happy than say updating my Facebook status (not that there was ever a debate about it). Talking to my best friend made me more happy than talking on twitter (again, no contest). Baking a cake makes me happy. But these aren't perennial solutions to my happiness problems. If I was on the receiving end of a 'clean your room' lecture... I know fainting would make me happy or perhaps something less dramatic like a walk. But the point is we(I) worry too much about happiness. It's downright stupid. We worry just as much about happiness as about dying.
I happened to come across this image, it said "The first step to getting what you want is having the courage to getting rid of what you don't." It was a weird light bulb moment for me, the internet delivered. This is what I meant by 'epiphany'.
I am a classic Facebook addict and I thought being on Facebook made me happy, turns out taking away Facebook from me has made me no less sad or happy. My total happiness has remained the same. All our attempts are towards being happy, we work too hard. We want happiness so badly that we are making ourselves miserable.
Now, the irony bleeds to death here. We're sad that we aren't the right kind of happy. We want the text book definition of happy and obviously we aren't getting it. We aren't ever going to be happy. We aren't ever going to find a moment of pure bliss, movie moments happiness. Oh! I know I am coming of as very pessimistic and don't let me stop you from going to 'be happy'. If you find it, good.
The point is that happiness in it's current state is overrated. Seriously. Think about it. Happiness is overrated. It's like a competition, it's a race to see who is the happiest. Who can decode what happiness is? Happiness is this, happiness is that, happiness is a new book, new clothes, new bla, blah, blah... sadly, I fell for it and so bad. The internet tells you a certain thing is 'happiness'. It's not. Certain people have it better, they don't.
Speaking of happiness, I thought I had a certain idea on what happiness would be like and surprisingly it comes very close to what I want. But in that vision, I see myself existing in vacuum, nobody or nothing affects me. I live entirely on my own terms and given that the universe is a heartless mistress, I know it's never happening.
I realized we are trying so hard too be happy, it's almost funny. It's like a cruel joke you play on yourself. You think that something will make you happy. It almost never does. The problem with it is that the vision of our 'happiness' is inflated. Inflated to the point that if real happiness and bliss knocked on our doors and declared itself with a visiting card, we'd be disappointed. So disappointed. We expect perennial happiness.
"We come together only to go apart again. The law of life can't be avoided. The law comes into operation the moment we detach ourselves from our mothers womb. All struggle and misery in life is due to our attempt to arrest this law or get away from it or in allowing ourselves to be hurt by It. The fact must be recognised a profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life. All else is false. The law of life. No sense battling against it."
- R K Narayan.