Happiness Is A State Of Mind
I have been asked why I always seem happy. How do I always have a smile on my face? Why can my laughter be heard in a room? Why is there always a lot of noise, clatter, loud voices wherever I am? Normally, when I hear these questions I just smile them away.
But seriously, let me think about happiness. With a smile!
What is happiness? To me, it is a state where I believe that everything is fine. Everything is fine. It's all OK. Life, love, weather, traffic, weight, age, family, friends. Literally, everything!
(Also Read - How can you be happy at the end of a day?)
That does not mean that there aren’t times when things are not OK.
Yes, I get sad, angry, worried, panicked, irritated, hassled, stressed and a whole host of negative emotions. And yes they stay with me for some time. I have been depressed and have battled that for weeks and months. But by and large, I am happy. Why?
I Let the Unhappiness Out! As often as I can.
When I have negative emotions, I "let them out" with all the expressiveness I am known for. I curse in my head and that is a big thing for me. Remember, I belong to a generation where ladies were taught not to curse. Yes, the generation after the one, where ladies fainted on hearing the word "damn". Yet I curse! Curse in my head, argue with myself, scream at the walls, wet my pillow, let my tears mingle with the shower, plot revenge. I recall smaller hurts that pile up over a period of time. I may have let them out then, but if they still linger, I let them out again!
I let them out as often as I can. Just let them go!
Not to another person, but to myself.
Not to another person, for that, many a time in the corporate world, would make me seem weak.
Not to another person, for they are not living my life and may not be able to understand.
Not to another person, for they should not be burdened by my unhappiness.
(Learn the Secret Recipe to a Happy Life)
Here and Now!
Most of the time, I am happy. I think I am happy because I like the here and now. It's the only place I can be.
The past is the past. Neither you nor I can change it. We can wish we behaved differently. We can wish we can change it but we can’t. We never could nor can we in the future.
The future is far ahead. I can’t bet on something happening in the future as I do not know all the variables and drivers that impact a future outcome. I try not to expect too much of the future. If it brings me something I want/need, then I am happy. If it doesn’t, as I did not expect much, I am less sad.
The only real, tangible thing I have is the here and now. This moment, this hour, this day, even at a stretch, this week. What I do today, like writing this post, or following-up on something, or pre-work for my next assignment, or deciding the menu for dinner when friends are over this Saturday. This is all I can do. Nothing more and nothing less. So, I enjoy doing it. I can learn to do it. I can feel proud completing something of quality well within time.
I Try to Plan for an Unpredictable Future
Not worrying about the future does not mean don’t plan for it. I know I can’t plan for everything, so I choose 2 things - financial security and health.
I started working with a financial consultant only 12 years ago, but at least now I know where I stand. This financial security is largely helped by not being in debt and not pursuing expensive habits. Also, I don’t plan to leave money or property for the next generation. I don’t want to die rich. I want to live rich.
I struggle with health. All my life I have struggled with weight. I was born an 8lb 8oz baby and never really managed to be a healthy weight. But I exercise as often as I can, I try to eat healthily. I have tried dieting a gazillion time. But none are sustainable. Does it make me unhappy? Sure it does. But, will I get there? Someday. Someday I will.
I, Me, Myself
My happiness lies in me. I am constantly working for others, both at work and at home. There are targets to be met, restructuring to be done, policies to be reviewed, homes to run, illnesses to deal with, inconsistent household help, groceries to be bought, bank accounts to be balanced. Sudden demands of me and my time. I do what I can. I am not trying to win the “Super Woman Award”. I cannot do everything.
What I can do is invest in myself, for nothing matters if I am not happy. Whether it is reading, or watching TV, or chatting with people, or going out dancing with my friends. I am important. So important, that I spend money, time, effort on myself. And try not to feel guilty about it.
When I Am Happy And I Know It……
I let everyone know I am happy. Much like the Pharrell Williams song "Happy".
I chat. I smile. I laugh. I pull a leg. I tell a joke. I share a story. I let the child in me come out.
If I die tomorrow, I don’t want to have regrets. I will have worries, of things not completed. But as far as possible - no regrets. I have done what I could do. Been the best I could be with both the monster and angel in me.
I tell myself I am happy
So I am happy.
By Sangeeta Murthi Sahgal