“Remember happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.” ~ Dale Carnegie
People search for happiness all their lives, whether or not they vocalise it, or even consciously realise it. This is everyone’s primary motivation in life. We study hard because we want to attain good results, to get that scholarship to enter a prestigious university so that we can land a job that pays well and hopefully we also enjoy doing. We work hard because we need our boss’s recognition, to get that promotion, to earn more money to sustain our lives and lifestyles, because buying that Gucci bag, travelling to different parts of the world, having that fancy car make us happy. Because when we become millionaires we want to become billionaires. Because after we attain success we want to be even more successful. We want to dream the impossible dream and reach the unreachable star.
Then why are people never truly happy with their lives? Because after we have attained our goals, we are again dissatisfied and consider ourselves poorly unless we set a higher goal and drive ourselves towards it. There’s always a wider river to cross, a higher peak to conquer. Perfectionists cannot be happy people because really, nothing is perfect in this world. You can marry the most beautiful girl you know and still not be happy. Someone more attractive with more wit and charm will come along one day and you wonder, what the matter was wrong with my choice!
The key lies in contentment. Can we say to ourselves that yes, we have attained our goals so we can finally slow down and say we are, or, should be, happy now? Would I be happier living my life at the beach, needing little except for simple food and lodging with the singlet on my back and the sandals on my feet? Then I wouldn’t need the expensive shoes, bag, car, bungalow etc etc. Then I wouldn’t need to slog my life away at the expense of my health, forgoing time spent with people who matter most to me. But no, I’m not happy if I think my peers are “doing” better than me. I want to have what they have and more.
Yet it is precisely discontentment that gives our society the impetus to constantly want to improve ourselves and our lives. It is this which leads mankind to advances and innovations. (So perfectionism is a two-edged sword?)
If you think of yourself as a traveller, just passing through in this life, or think of your body as a shell that houses your soul, would all you amass in this life matter so much, after all? How long would beauty, fame and fortune last? The saying goes – you are born into this world with clenched fists, you will leave this world with opened fists. That is, you bring nothing with you when you arrive and you shall take nothing with you when you leave this world. In fact, a simple helpful gesture to a stranger can bring both of you happiness! Hard to imagine but it’s true. Happiness can be had by just spending twenty minutes a day, watching the evening sun, feeling the breeze on your face, listening to the birds chirping at your window sill or reading your favourite novel.
Leading a balanced life seems to be the answer to this question. At different stages of one’s life, there would be different priorities to fulfill. In other words, I want to have it all but in a finely tuned balance which I strive to adjust and maintain throughout my life.
So ask yourself this – what would make you a truly happy person?
Julianne Lee – About the Author:
Julianne Lee is the owner of the blog and Facebook page Julianne Body Temple where she shares articles and videos relating to fitness, health, relationship, psychology towards attaining a healthy body, mind and soul. ( http://juliannebodytemple.blogspot.com )