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What is happiness? This is a big question yet to be answered. Somebody said if there is no problem in one’s life that is happiness. Others argue that if there exists a solution to one’s all problems that is happiness. Apart from these views, one opinion is that if we get all the things we desire, that is happiness. Now the new question arises- Can all the desires of a human being be fulfilled at any stage of life? Just judge yourself- Write all your desires on a paper. Now think if all those desires will be fulfilled what will happen? You will have new desires bigger than the previous one. So, desires are inversely proportional to happiness. That’s why happiness as an effect of fulfilled desires is momentary.
According to Mathieu Richard, The Monk who wrote a bestseller book on happiness,” Achieving durable happiness is as a way of being is a skill”. This statement strongly asserts that we know only the momentary happiness like happiness to see someone you love, happiness to have your favorite food, happiness to get award, promotion or prize you desire and so on. But this happiness is vulnerable and incomplete. Richard also mentioned that happiness is not just an emotion, but a skill that can be developed. A person who develops this skill can be happy even in the presence of death. This doesn’t mean that you laugh at others death. It means that you should understand that death is the universal truth and you should not mourn thinking about own or others death.
Life is short. To manage the time we set up the daily timetable and follow that in our routine. Get up at 6:00 am, then walk for half an hour, then get ready for the office and have breakfast, then leave for the office at 8:45 am and be in office from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, then return home and have tea, spend some time with family, watch TV or read something, have dinner and go for evening walk and sleep and same schedule will be followed on the next day. But are we happy in following this so-called timetable? Most of us will say no, but some are happy in this strict timetable. Why?
Because there are always two ways of seeing the world and happiness is a way to see the world. If a person considers his/her problems to be temporary, he/she can be happy in any situation. But if a person considers his/her happiness to be temporary and always spread with unsolvable problems, that person cannot be happy anytime anywhere. So, to be happy one must be an optimist.
The other qualities of an optimist are hope, resolve, adaptability, serenity, and meaning. Hope is the feeling of always do better, limit the damage, find an alternative solution and always think of a new start. Resolve means do not give up quickly, especially in adverse conditions. Adaptability means in a difficult situation you should react in a more constructive and creative way. Serenity means in the condition of temporary failure you should be free of regret and guilt feelings. Rather bearing the burden of past failures you should think about a new solution. And the meaning means every human being has the potential for transformation and this potential gives meaning to human life.
Along with being an optimist the person should have the humble mind to be happy because pride and ego always give you bad feelings for others and the negative thoughts can never lead to true happiness. At the point of true happiness, the respect of other person’s point of view is a turning point. You should not need to adopt the other’s way of thinking, rather you should have empathy to understand and respect the others. By being humble you can come over the jealousy which is the major foe of happiness.
Now one more term is there which is strongly associated with the happiness - i.e. altruism. Altruism refers to the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Here comes a question that happiness makes us altruist or altruism makes us happy? The answer is present in us. Just to help one needy person and see what will you get? There is no match to that inner feeling you got after helping that person. This feeling of belongingness to all living beings is called universal responsibility. But according to Psychologist Daniel Batson “There are true altruists and false altruists”. It refers that some people help others for praise or to avoid some guilt are the false altruists while some people help others even without being noticed are the true altruists. True happiness can be achieved by true altruist only.
One more quality leads to true happiness that is inner freedom. It does not mean that you don’t have a boss. It means freedom from me and mine and commitment towards the chosen destination. The egoless person having the right aim in life remains always happy.
Last but not the least quality for happiness is compassion. If we feel that others also have pain and difficulties, we stop asking the question- why me? And this feeling of compassion can make- A happy poor better than the stressed rich. This statement also reveals that money cannot buy happiness.
So, in the end, I would like to mention that the optimistic nature, humble mind, true altruism, inner freedom, and compassion are the factors which can lead one towards the true and lasting happiness.