Happiness is a state of mind

What has been made you happy or smile recently? Do you still remember? What is happiness?

“Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather what’s happening inside you. Most people depend on others to gain happiness, but the truth is, it always comes from within.” – Anonymous

People or things do not determine our state of mind, but we often look to them to define ourselves. Am I a caring person? Is my passion in music? Would I be happy if I do what I like? In our pursuit of these answers, we often forget how, happiness is a by-product of living a meaningful, fulfilling life, and not an end goal.

In my adolescence where I was full of anger and hatred for my life, I often asked the question why. Why do people not like me? Why did they have to bully and ostracise me? Why is there not a single person I can tell my troubles to? Why aren’t my parents wealthy? Why can’t I study whatever I want? Why can’t I do whatever I want? I was unhappy with my life and could not make peace with myself because I mistook happiness as an end-goal. I thought that if people liked me, if my bullies disappeared, and if my parents were wealthy, I would live a happy life. It was simply not true. The thing is, if you take happiness as an end-goal, you are simply not going to have it because it will never be enough. When my bullies were out of my life and I started working (and thus never had to worry much about money), it felt as if I had a checkbox ticked. So what now? What do I have to do next to make myself happy? I felt that I needed to constantly create milestones of happiness in my life to prove to myself that I lived a happy life.

It does not help that we live in an era of interconnectivity. Every Facebook post of holiday albums, every Instagram post of birthday celebrations, showing our friends and our family the happy life we built for ourselves. How much of it is as happy as we portray ourselves to be? Life isn’t all black or white. Are there untold stories behind the smiles in the photos?

If happiness isn’t an end goal, how can we build our outlook so that it becomes a by-product of living a meaningful, fulfilling life? The answer is simple, yet often easily forgotten – get joyful over life’s tiny victories and simple pleasures. My best friend call it ‘baby steps’, and I use it as a daily mantra. I wake up thankful that I live under a roof and lie on a bed. I congratulated myself on forgiving my bullies and acknowledged that they taught me how to be strong and independent they way I am today. I rejoice over the fact that, you don’t have to start out right to be right. What started as proving others wrong that a child of lower-middle class family can’t do as well as a child of wealthy family has grown into a thirst for new skills and knowledge.

I am comfortable and depend on myself for fulfilment. I sing and do art when I feel like it, grab dinners and ice-creams with my friends often, and find satisfaction in the work I do. My everyday life is filled with tiny happy events, and I no longer wish for better days to come like before. It’s only just the beginning – but for now, and for a long time in the hopeful future, I am and will be a happy person.


Article by The Editor