Joy, bliss, pleasure, delight, whatever you want to call it, happiness has many names. For many of us, it’s a constant pursuit of a lifetime.
The 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness based on Chris Gardner’s struggle with homelessness depicts the protagonist’s fierce determination to overcome an extremely difficult period in his life to achieve success. In this case, it is the character’s drive to provide a better life for his son that changes his attitude and in turn motivates him to achieve his goals. His ability to rise above the challenges ultimately helps him achieve happiness.
While many of us may not have faced difficult situations in life like Chris Gardner, we are not impervious to the feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction or depression. Some find it easier to chase away the blues but there are others who rely on medication to stay ‘happy’.
Why do so many people have trouble finding happiness? Here’s my theory. Through the years, the media has bombarded us with the ideals of happiness – a 16-year-old with a slim figure gets the boy, a strong, handsome boy becomes the champion, a 28-year-old with a dream career and car, a 35-year-old with the perfect family – you get the drift.
Well, no wonder we are always unhappy. We are chasing someone else’s happiness. To be truly happy, you need to find what makes you happy and not what you think is going to make you happy because other people are happy doing the same thing. I also realise happiness is about a moment and not a permanent state of mind. It is a choice we can make.
Happiness can be achieved by being content. To do that, you need to ignore what others think about you. We are who we are and we make the best of what we have, and if we can do better than that, count it as a blessing. Otherwise, we will just be beating ourselves up for something we don’t have.
It’s easier said than done, I hear someone say. Yes, it takes practise. Making a choice to be happy is something we need to tell ourselves to do every day. I am still trying. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but like everything in life, nothing worth savouring comes easy.
So, happiness can be as simple or as complicated as you make it out to be. The choice is yours.