Happiness

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.” – Bertrand Russell

Most people spend their lives waiting for something to happen. When they’re happy, they’re waiting for something to ruin that happiness. They feel it, an energy of sorts, waiting around the corner to consume their smiles. When they’re sad, when they feel something is missing, they wait for something to make them smile again.

In the first situation, fear takes a hold of their lives. The moment you have something to lose, that’s when you’re truly afraid. The moment you want to freeze a moment, to preserve the status quo for ever and ever and ever, that’s when stuff happens. Life is motion, we are taught that early on.

In the second situation, hope is what keeps us going. Hope for change, hope for better moments, hope that what we lost might return to us.

But the thing is, there’s always something missing. Something to add, something to take away, something to get rid of. We live in the moment, but that moment can only last so much before it dissolves into another one. Happiness, defined as a singular moment of ecstasy, is just that… it tends to last longer than all the rest seconds that slowly tick away inside clocks, but it always transforms into another moment.

The overused and slightly cliched definition of life as a road has always been true. Life is a road. We always live with the future gleaming over the horizon. Sometimes we stare in the rear view mirror. We’re rarely aware of what’s going on around us… we never seem to absorb enough, because we’re always in a hurry to reach a place we’re not even sure exists.

Most people don’t know what happiness is. They can make lists, they can tell you what’s missing, what’s wrong, with them or the world around them, they know they don’t have enough.

Greed is fueled by the feeling that you don’t have enough. So is ambition. Or unhappiness, for that matter. The difference is given by the way you act about it. And the way you feel about yourself.

Most people don’t want to act. They want stuff to happen to them, not the other way around. Also, they’re never willing to accept the fact that happiness is a state of mind. There’s always something missing. It’s all about how we appreciate what we have and what we’re willing to do to acquire all the other things we want. How we do all that is really what defines us as people.

We often take things for granted, and it’s only when those things are taken from us that we truly begin to appreciate them. We seem to miss the most the things we had and lost, and we get so caught up in this feeling that we don’t want to accept the fact that life goes on.

This is a fact. Life goes on. No matter what, life goes on. Yet, when we lose what we hold as the most precious to us, that’s when we refuse to believe it. We think life has stopped, time has stopped, hope has died.

Maybe this is the secret. You have to keep telling yourself that life goes on… on the good days and on the bad. You have to always know that stuff happens. Life happens. Things get broken or lost. Or found. Or sold, borrowed, never to be given back.

Things happen; they always do and always will. How you process everything, that’s what happiness is all about.

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19 thoughts on “Happiness

    • And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation:
      Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
      Luke 17

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  1. Cristian, thank you for a great post! What you say is true. However, I do respectfully disagree with Mr. Russell. You have to find happiness in the now, what you are doing day-to-day. We all have a list of things we want but can’t have. Happiness is appreciating what you have here and now.

    Have a great day!

    Angela

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  2. Well, I agree with what you said. When we are happy, we’re waiting for the moment to destroy our happiness and go back to pursue it from the beginning. I’ve felt this way today when I was on my way home. For a moment, I felt like everything is okay in my life and my dreams are coming true. I didn’t know how to feel, it’s the right thing to be done but why did I feel that way?

    I once read an article it was called “Masochistic Equilibrium”. the idea is that we are used to a certain level of happiness, if it’s more or less we’ll feel uncomfortable. Henceforth, I see we should keep our goals list updated constantly so we’d never feel unhappy about ourselves. Let’s not forget that satisfaction and contentment are also needed in our lives.

    Thanks for your lovely piece. :)

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  3. There is a lot of wisdom here, Cristian. To a great extent I think life is what we make of it. Of course, there are things over which we have no control, but our attitude is what makes the difference, whether we are happy at the moment, or not.

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  4. I don’t usually wait for things to happen to me. I go about trying to get it for myself. To sum up my philosophy, it’s this: “Don’t beg for things. Do it yourself. Otherwise nothing good will ever happen to you.”
    Now if only I could remember where I got that line.

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  5. This is great!!
    I recently watched a documentary that said 50% of happiness is dependent on genetics. 40% is your intentional actions and thoughts. And 10% is your external circumstances such as health, wealth and what not!

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  6. Beautifully written. I believe that the problems with Happiness is that people put too much emphasis on it. They overthink their situation, wonder why it couldn’t have gone better. Always reaching for something more, just a little more. But the truth is, those are the moments of happiness we should acknowledge. Happiness is fleeting and you almost always never realize you’re experiencing it until it’s over.

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  7. You’re right. There’s only a limited amount of things that you really do have control over so the best thing to do is to let go and live – completely! What an inspiring post! Thank you

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  8. This has a lot of application for me right now. I’m working 32 hours a week, working on a masters degree, manage bipolar disorder, and will start practicum in January. I keep telling myself, nothing will get in the way of this masters. I must get it. And I’m terrified at the stability I’ve made in my life being messed up in any way. So scared of that. You hit the nail right on the head. My efforts each day are to maintain my specific status quo.

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  9. i like the overall message of this post. One thing though, instead of waiting for something to come along & ruin one’s happiness, wouldn’t time be better spent basking in the warmth of happiness and enjoying it? When I’m unhappy, I don’t wait for something or somebody to fix it for me, if I feel sad, I let myself be with my sadness so I can process it and move on to create happiness for myself once again.

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