The Pursuit of Happiness

For starters, to clarify by the title of my post - this is NOT about the box office selling Will Smith movie. Today’s post is about the search for true happiness. What is happiness? Where does one find it? How does one obtain it?

There’s no real definition or proven fact by scientists what happiness is, and how it can essentially be obtained. But let me just say, happiness isn’t something to be sought out for. I’m not one to say this is the core answer to happiness, but with my personal experience and for what I believe, Happiness can be derived from a simple appreciation and the act of giving.

Appreciation

From what I observe most people always speak of their future and how’ll they be more happier after achieving certain goals/dreams. Most people’s perception of happiness is by binding to the idea that the future is where the success & happiness is. Not only do others perceive this but I, myself am occasionally guilty of this.

A vast majority of people live in the “not now”, they are psychologically unpresent by disregarding everything they have in that moment. The human race is always on the run by having the aim to simply “get through the day” rather than actually enjoying the day. Everyday myself, I continuously look forward to the end of the day, leaving university, leaving my job, finishing up all my work, just till I reach the end of the day only to repeat the same cycle.

“Until you give the idea that happiness is somewhere else, you’ll never really be happy where you are.” — Dr. Holden

By focusing yourself to living into the future , and ignoring living in the present you essentially dissatisfy yourself to focus on what you don't have rather than appreciating what you do. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having goals, dreams or aspirations. It’s amazing to be so motivated and fulfilling such desires. But by doing so I personally believe this is where most people's happiness lacks in the PRESENT.

By keeping high expectations of happiness & life for the future, expectations will steal the gifts and pleasure of what’s sitting right there in front of you. Society is so concerned about creating this image in your mind of happiness and this perfect picture of the future that we forget to appreciate what is there. We often so bind our expectations onto something so singular we end up forgetting other little aspects in our life that add reason for joy.

True contentment comes when you value what’s in front of you, rather than an idealized view of what you perceive to want/need. — Zoha Rahman.

So just by appreciating any aspect in your life, your family, friends, maybe your significant other, the roof on your head, the meal on your dinner table,your health, the dream job... anything- you can simply achieve happiness. It all starts with a new mindset and attitude. Your energy reciprocates what you train your mind to think. So start letting go of all the negativity in your life, enjoy everyday as it comes, have gratitude and make memories & experiences right now- In the present.

The Act of Giving

Many researchers, authors, public speakers claim that we may get longer-lasting happiness just by giving to others & being useful, rather than receiving for ourselves. Of course there's the pleasure of receiving what we want, but how long will that temporary happiness last?

- You buy something, and you think that makes you happy.

- You hook up with people, and think that makes you happy.

- You get drunk with your friends, and think that makes you happy.

- You get a well-paying job you don’t like, and think that makes you happy.

Society oftens lives off this constant cycle of this temporary & perceived happiness, but in reality to obtain happiness I BELIEVE it's the act of giving.

I notice my happiness derives from giving to people and being of use to someone. There's a different kind of happy you feel when you could be of use to someone or to make someone’s day. It doesn’t necessarily mean gifting people with material things to make them happy, but just by presenting simple acts of kindness.

For example a hot day there is nothing as good as a cold glass of fresh water. You don’t have to go to the store for it. Yet when you give it to someone who is thirsty, you can have the happiness that comes from giving.

I too have experienced this act of giving. Just a couple of days ago in downtown Toronto, I was simply walking into the mall passing by an old man holding a hat asking for money. As most people do , I also kept walking, solely for the reason that I never carry cash. As I looked back, something hit me that I didn’t want to be that selfish person. I remembered carrying a lot of change that day, I walked back and gave him all the change I had. I looked down in his hat and before giving, I saw how he only had two quarters. He then thanked me and said I was the first person to acknowledge him within the past few hours he was there and added on how he can finally have his dinner. In that moment I felt joy in knowing I had made someone else’s night, and by making this act of kindness.

We can give to people not only with possessions/things but through our words and time. We can simply give kindness just by asking someone how their day went and taking the time to listen. Taking the time to clean the house so your mother can rest, compliment someone on their hair/clothing /job well done or even comforting someone in need.

I truly believe everyone must “practise giving.” and make it a habit. By doing so we will be busy making others happy and our self.

As Aristotle would say “the most important factor in the effort to achieve happiness is to have a good moral character — “complete virtue.”

Thank you for reading my perception of achieving “happiness”.

Till next time…

XO,

Zoha Rahman 👼🌸💕

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