“Happiness is a state of mind.”
I often hear this phrase being thrown around, alongside, “money can’t buy happiness” and “money isn’t everything.”
And perhaps it isn’t. After all, we often hear about the rich and famous getting depressed, taking drugs, spiraling out of control, taking their own lives. If they had it all, why, then, would they still be unhappy?
Then there are those who subscribe to another ideology: “It’s better to cry in a Lamborghini than on a bicycle.” “Money isn’t everything, but everything needs money.”
It might be true to some extent – comfort and pleasures can be bought with money, and for some, this is their measure of happiness.
My point is, happiness is a fluid concept, which can mean different things to different people.
For me, happiness is about loving yourself.
I used to let my happiness be dictated by loved ones. As the consummate Asian child, I was brought up to believe that happiness was to be filial to my parents, and that meant living up to their dreams and expectations. From a young age, my path had been laid out before me – all I had to do was follow, and for the longest time, I believed that it would make me happy.
But I wasn’t.
Deep down inside, a part of me knew that if I walked down this road, I would end up resenting myself and my loved ones. Myself, for not having the courage to speak out. Them, for not understanding, because they do not know any better and genuinely think they are protecting and guiding me to a better life.
What hurt me the most, perhaps, is the fact that my idea of happiness – being able to do what I want and love – was in conflict with what my loved ones wanted me to do and become. Because at the end of the day, I do want their blessing. I do want them to be proud of me.
For the longest time, I struggled with depression and anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and crippling self-doubt, to the point where there were days that I could not function like a normal human being.
I still have such days, and I don’t know if it will ever go away completely. The ever elusive feelings of ‘happiness’ come and go like a breeze. And that’s okay.
Why? Because I’ve learned to love myself a little bit better. I understand that no person can go through life happy all the time, so I’ll take whatever happy days life gives me. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things more.The smile of a loved one. An outing with a friend. The beauty of the sky and the clouds, the golden hue of the sunset as I drive home from work. Travelling. Filling my head with new knowledge. Not letting negative people affect me as much as it used to. Managing expectations. Being content with things.
Life is short and fragile, and it can be gone in the blink of an eye. I think its wise to have as many happy days as possible.