I came across a year old magazine recently which carried as its cover story, "25 ways to be happy in 2008," written by the well known Indian writer Shobhaa De. Being my kind of article, I was soon devouring all the advice handed down by Ms. De. She had given 25 tips on how to find happiness and keep on being happy. The article did make good reading and inspired me to put down my views on being happy or achieving happiness. (If that is really possible in a real sense).
Starting out as a cynic on the subject isn't a good thing but how does one measure true happiness? It is yet another human emotion which differs from individual to individual and there is definitely no one-size-fits-all formula to being happy. After all our happiness also depends a lot on the people in our lives. The manner in which they respond to our emotions and their behaviour affects our state of mind and so our happiness is linked to our relationships be it with our family members, friends or colleagues.
I think what makes most of us happy is being with family and friends because what we seek out as happiness cannot be achieved in isolation. I am happy when I spend time with my family members just being comfortable in their company, listing to my ten-year-old son repeat the entire episode of his favourite cartoon he watched in my absence, recalling memories from childhood days or going out somewhere together.
I am happy when I am with my close friends in whose company I can let my guard down and be myself. I think anyone with no close friends misses out a great deal on happiness in life because for me they are definitely a source of a great happiness.
I am also happy in my work place where I can interact with my colleagues and share the common bonds we have being in the same profession. I think a person cannot be happy if they wake up each working day and is not motivated to head off to their work place. If getting to work feels like a burden, guess it's a good time to find a few place to work in. Here also your level of contentment in a job depends a great deal on the kind of people you work with and their attitudes.
But eventually the decision on how happy we want to be rests with each of us. It's easy to feel miserable by taking life too seriously and dissecting each and every minute shortcoming in our lives and wishing things were different or thinking that the person next to you is always happier than you are. Reality is that other person has his/her set of problems no matter how picture perfect their lives may look on the outside. External appearances can never tell how content a person really is. A person who looks deliriously happy on the outside may be feeling sad inside while a person who displays little happiness on the outside may be a very content person on the inside.
It's fun reading about how to be happy or how to have the perfect relationship or how to be a super mom, but eventually we all have to find our own way around in life if we are to come even close to achieving these near impossible targets. Learning to find happiness in the small things in life is a good place to start.
Being kind and considerate to others is something that costs us nothing but many of us overlook small gestures which not only make us happy but also others around us happy. I think smiling is definitely one of them and can be highly recommended. So start of the New Year with a big smile and here's wishing everyone a new year with oodles of happiness.