Life is all about making choices, whether it’s to do with major ones in life like the choice of career or life partner, or to do with mundane issues like what to cook, what to wear, where to go, or which movie to watch. While most of us are diligent about taking a host of big-small decisions in life, there is one choice that we are oblivious of. We don’t even realize that Happiness is a matter of choice.
Strange it may sound, but the fact is no one can make us happy unless we take a conscious decision to be happy. Despite having everything –name, fame, riches, we may be disgruntled. Even in pink of health surrounded by family and friends, we may feel dissatisfied unless we develop an attitude of happiness. Favorable external factors can help but nothing can make us happy unless we choose to be happy.
If happiness is to do with money, then all the rich and prosperous people should be happy which not the case is. There are people possessing everything required for a good living; but still unhappy. The fact is material pleasures and possessions, besides power and a luxurious lifestyle are not enough to keep a person in a state of perpetual happiness.
What about success? Does it not make us happy? It does. Appreciation, recognition, riches, name and fame associated with success contribute to happiness. However, it is erroneous to believe that success automatically makes us happier. The fact is happiness doesn’t come merely by achieving a goal. Happiness, unlike success, is not to be achieved but to be cultivated.
Happiness is a positive emotion, a state of mind, an attitude to be developed. Whether we feel happy or unhappy, the choice is ours. It is said where attention goes, energy flows. If we focus on negativity, we will perpetually be unhappy despite having everything. If we keep noticing a ‘missing tile’, always find one or the other reason to complain and crib about, we cannot stay happy. The Missing Tile Syndrome (focusing on what we don’t have and ignoring what we have) is a big obstacle to happiness. So big, in fact, that it makes happiness almost impossible.
Remember the lyrics of an old song, ‘Kabhi kisi ko mukkamal jahan nahin milta….’ No one’s life is perfect. There will always be some or the other thing missing in our life but how we perceive the deficiency is entirely our choice. The moment our attention is on the things missing, it is glass ‘half empty’ and we feel miserable. However, if we focus on what we have, it is like a glass ‘half full’. The situation is the same but the attitude of gratitude makes us feel blessed and happy. In fact, when we start counting our blessings, we not have time to count our problems.
We must understand that happiness is a matter of choice, more to do with our mind, thoughts, feelings and attitude than with anything else. Instead of blaming our circumstances, situations and people in our life, let us take responsibility of our state of mind and decide to stay happy.
The moment we start acting like life is a blessing. It starts feeling like one.
(Published in Hindustan Times on 28 October 2022 )