Happiness – Not Just An Illusion

November 11, 2014  (Original post here)

Yesterday in class we had a pretty interesting lecture. I must admit that what we were talking about and the tips my professor provided us were things that I had figured out about 5-6 years ago (in now way am I trying to brag). While we were talking about it I couldn’t help but feel inspired to write this post.

Happiness (happy) is defined as “the feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” It’s a broad definition for a broad word. We spend so much money on material possessions, psychologists, doctors, trips, etc. with the hopes that it’ll bring us happiness. The idea of happiness is always changing and the definition of happiness always changes for each individual. When I began college, I thought that the only way that I could be happy in the long run was to graduate with my degree and get a well paying job. The job had to provide me enough money to move out on my own and be able to provide for myself. 

It was during my sophomore year of college when I head this quote: “You become most like the 5 people you surround yourself with.” The next day I woke up feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I decided that it was no longer enough to have material possessions and ideas as a way to create happiness. I no longer wanted to read tweets that sounded depressing or talk about how much life sucks and how unfair it was. So I made a change. I cold-turkey stopped talking to friends that I felt negatively impacted my life and instead I focused on the friendships/relationships that enhanced my perspective on life. I focused on changing my surroundings and my outlook on life. 

I realized that my happiness was a direct result of my reaction to situations that occurred in my life. To be frank I’ve had a lot of s**t that has happened to me and my family. When I would talk to my friends and some of my family members about it, they would wonder how I’m able to compose myself the way that I do. My secret is that I’ve invested my time to building quality and positive relationships with 5 individuals who I know will support me and provide me with great advice, that I have people to turn to when I feel like I can’t take anymore. They help me to realize that right now, it may feel like I’m facing a mountain, but when I look back it would be a little rock that was in the road. They would help me see that things would get better as long as I keep my faith and as long as I keep doing everything through faith. 

Happiness to me has absolutely nothing to deal with tangible items. To me it’s all about the relationships I build with people and the investments I make in other people’s lives. In order to be happy I realize that I need to make others happy, and that’s why I enjoy helping other people as much as I can. I enjoy talking to them and giving them advice. I enjoy hearing other people’s life stories and how it helped them become who they are today. I love motivational speakers because they always seem to invest a little bit of themselves in each individual that they inspire. 

My happiness is no longer dependent on whether some guy says he loves me, my happiness is no longer dependent on how much money I have in my bank account (although, let’s be honest, if I had a million dollars there would be a huge smile on my face), and my happiness is no longer dependent on the material possessions that I have. My happiness depends on whether my family is healthy and feels like I’m spending enough time with them. My happiness depends on whether I feel like my life has some type of purpose. My happiness depends on my friends trusting me with their problems. My happiness depends on me and my boyfriend having the time to invest into our relationship. 

I’ve heard some people say that happiness is just an illusion we make for ourselves; that there is no such thing. If you’re one of those people I want you to think about what would make you happy. Is it dependent among tangible/material things or is it dependent on the relationships you build here on Earth? We only have one shot to have an impact. We have one chance to find what that happiness is. If we spend majority of our lives sitting behind a desk thinking that one day, you’ll make enough for that trip to Europe, or one day you’ll make enough to finally have time to spend with you family, let me tell you something. Those opportunities will be gone quicker than a blink of an eye. 

If you think that what I’m saying is complete BS, then you know what, you’re definitely entitled to think that. But if you’re willing to hear me out, then I encourage you to start focusing on things you do have and not on the things you don’t have. I encourage you to say something nice to someone your care about, and not expect anything in return. I encourage you to stop thinking that only bad things happen to you, but instead acknowledge that life won’t always go your way and instead change your outlook on how you react to those situations. 

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