What is happiness?

I spend an amazing day yesterday with the guy who is now my new friend (I call him no-third-date-guy ;-)) We get on so well, and I confess I am still hoping for more… But that’s not the topic of this blog. At the end of the day we watched the movie ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’. If you haven’t seen it yet, go and watch it! Such a beautiful movie!

But it made me think: what makes me happy? And even though I do agree with most of the findings of the film, I am not sure if I could come up with it by myself. So let me take a few examples from the movie.

1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness

So true. You cannot compare yourself to another person. Happiness means something very different to every person. And we don’t know what time and effort the other person put into reaching this state. We should also not confuse it with being envious. We don’t know what they went through to get to where they are, so don’t compare and be envious. Envy is a poisonous trait. And never forget: The grass always seem greener on the other side. But once you get there, you still have to maintain it and it’s not as fun and easy anymore.

2. Happiness means being richer or more important

Being richer or more important to me means more stress, more work, more responsibility and more worries about things you have to accomplish. I do not believe that CEOs are the happiest people on the planet. Money does not buy happiness, and in worst case you miss out because you simply do not have the time. Enjoy the small things and moments.

3. Happiness is in the future

What a depressing thought! Does that mean that we can never be happy in the now and today? Are we chasing happiness forever? Be content with what you have!

5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story

Being blissfully unaware. Gosh, sometimes I so wish for this state of mind. Eek! But wouldn’t you rather know the whole story and then make up your mind? Curiosity will kill the cat – I definitely would rather know it all than making uninformed decisions.

6. Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness

You need to hit rock bottom to appreciate it when you are up in cloud nine. So, without ever having been unhappy, how would you know that you are happy? And also, are you not missing out on experiences? After all, every step we take and every feeling and rollercoaster we go through makes us stronger, forms our character and helps us making better decisions in the future. So never shy back from something because you are afraid of getting hurt.

7. Happiness through bringing other people up or down

It’s either selfish (bringing someone down) or you’re giving up too much of yourself (upping other people). Never intentionally hurt someone else to make you feel good. I know, the temptation is great sometimes, especially in love and friendship. But will it make you a better person? No, certainly not. So be the bigger person and walk away from any such ‘challenge’. On the other hand, if you completely give up on yourself and focus on anyone else’s happiness only, you run the risk to lose yourself. That’s not happiness, that’s emptiness.

8. Happiness is answering your calling

It certainly is the right track, I think. I keep saying to please follow you heart and be true to yourself, so I will keep this in mind. Now I only need to listen to myself and find out, what my calling is!? Help! There is too much noise around me, I can’t hear myself…

9. Happiness is being loved for who you are

Yes! Yes yes yes! It took me over 34 years to finally being loved for who I am. It is such a great feeling, very pure and honest, and so good for the soul. I genuinely hope that everyone has friends or loved ones around them who do not want to change you but who encourage you to be true to yourself.

10. Sweet potato pie

Well, not exactly that. But delicious comfort food, yes! Anything, reminding you of food your mum or grandma cooked, or a good friend, or a meal transports your mind back to the best holiday ever. Food – isn’t the saying ‘The way to a man’s heart is through a great roast dinner.’? 🙂

11. Fear is impendent to happiness

Mhh – does that mean that if you fear losing something or someone it will make you happy if you have it around you? Or the other way around, if you are happy with what you have, is there always the fear of losing it lingering in the back of your mind?

12. Happiness is feeling completely alive

Yes! Again, have fun, enjoy life, make the most of every opportunity that presents itself. Be alive, don’t just exist. Be active and in charge of your life.

13. Listening is loving

Because listening means putting your own beliefs and thoughts aside and help someone to tackle their trail of thoughts, problems, to put things in order. Listening is not judging, and the best friends are those that are there for you. Once this is sorted you may speak out though, because loving is also to help someone find the right track again.

14. Nostalgia is not happiness (and not what it used to be)

Clinging on to the past… The funny thing is that we use to tend to ‘romanticise’, to only remember the good events and blend out the bad or sad ones. So hanging on to memories for the sake of finding happiness in them today will not lead to anything other than exhaustion and disappointment. Memories are great, but leave it in the past!

So what do we conclude? Every little bit will lead to happiness, I believe it’s a combination of all of the above. It’s so complex and therefore difficult and easily to find in equal measures. Keep and open mind and heart, and you will find little pockets of joy everywhere. Stay positive and keep smiling – and the world will smile back at you!

PS: If you are looking for no. 4: I have cut this one out, I don’t support it! 😉 (It says ‘Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time’, and Hector himself crossed it out because he realised he loved one woman only, the other feeling was lust, not to be mixed up with love ;-).)

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