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  Life   Relationship  10 Jan 2018  Happiness is a choice

Happiness is a choice

Published : Jan 10, 2018, 12:13 am IST
Updated : Jan 11, 2018, 6:50 am IST

My personal strategy that always works is to focus on things I can be thankful for. Sadness and gratitude just can’t exist together.

A still from The Pursuit of Happyness
 A still from The Pursuit of Happyness

Recently someone I knew ended his life. I was shocked. I had known him for years and at one time had cordial enough interactions. Then somewhere along the line, at some perceived slight on my side that was unintentional, he became revengeful. Reason: I hadn’t invited him to my birthday! He never missed an opportunity to speak ill of me and spread aspersions about me in my circle of friends. Of course, it hurt me and also  damaged some of my relationships. Hoping he would mend his ways, I never confronted him, although some friends had taken up my cause.

Now with his passing away, I was surprised to find myself feeling compassion for him. He must have been a tortured soul driven to his limit. Probably his vindictiveness towards others was more likely to have been a result of some personal pain and despair at his own situation. Psychologists interpret, he may have been a self-loathing soul and one does not need a degree in psychiatry to know that in such cases the venom and frustration spills over to all who have the misfortune to be around. But we can absolve the sad soul only to an extent for spreading malevolence. As we know a happy heart overflows with joy that engulfs all, and also, happiness is a choice, at least to the extent that we can reject unhappiness.

My personal strategy that always works is to focus on things I can be thankful for. Sadness and gratitude just can’t exist together. So even when things are bad, you think of gratitude. Never make comparisons. Each person is living his own story. Remember the saying — A man cried about having no shoes until he saw a man who had no legs. Yes sir, gratitude shifts gears every time! It’s a great antidote. It always works. You just need constant practice. It raises you to a happier pedestal. Whatever the situation, happiness lies in our being. It may seemingly come from outside like from wealth, acquisitions, external situations, and experiences, but it is important to recognise that these things can be transient and you’ll be constantly afraid of losing them. These insecurities crowd out chances of enjoying the moment. And there’s no end to desire.

Life can get tough and we could all do with an angel of course, but what is sure is that a great part of your endeavour towards achieving happiness comes from dropping expectations and consciously spreading goodwill and love around. One small gesture triggers a rebound to your  day and your life thereon. You receive goodwill as if by magic. After all, what goes round comes round. However old-fashioned it may sound, love does beget love.

Another person’s opinion, greater wealth and ability or your own FOMO can eat into your happiness. It may sound simplistic but philosophers and wise men state that happiness comes from your own ability to see life in a positive light and working towards a positive outlook. A kind, gentle word to a person working for you who has blundered majorly does more to enrich your own soul than losing your temper. All people who are beneficiaries of this largesse may see you as an angel or they may not, but what is sure is the fount of well-being your act springs within you.

Warmth is infectious, and in that tiny little way you’d have made a difference to the world by adding some happiness quotient. If you peg your happiness on other people inviting you to a party or not, being nice to you or not, then  the emotional cardiograph goes erratically up and down leaving you depleted. That’s not the way it should be. Blaming those around you brings you bitterness. Take charge of your end, sometimes understanding things helps proactive analyses because blame is a dead-end and it’s your life!

Cheerfulness is in your power, so reject the negative and go for the more gratifying options. I recently read about a senior aide at a Barack Obama dinner who was mistaken for a waiter. Did he bring the house down in outraged indignity? No, he poured the wine for the lady with a twinkle in his eyes!

The writer is a columnist, designer and brand
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Tags: psychologists, philosophers, barack obama, the pursuit of happyness