Happiness.

No one except you, yes, you, are responsible for your own happiness.

There are things that can bring you temporary highs, such as buying that pair of shoes you’ve been wanting for a while (yes, this is super relatable). However, material happiness is ephemeral. I actually believe that material lust lasts way longer than the satisfaction it brings me. When I really want something, it’s more or less like an itch that acts up once in a while. Does it affect me and my normal life? No, it doesn’t. Not at all, actually…but there’s that craving there until I finally cave in and buy that item. That’s material lust right there for me. When I actually purchase the shoes / bag / jewelry / dress /etc. that I’ve wanted for so long, of course I’m happy, but the magnitude is a lot smaller than I expect. This happens all the time. I’m pretty much a bit jaded by this.

There’s also substance use / abuse. This is a touchier subject, but there are a lot of people who use different substances to reach a brief state of comfort. I’m not here to judge anyone, because I’ve done that a few times more than I’d like to admit as well. I mean, look at my domain name. It’s pretty much a given. (No, it’s not healthy, and yes, I still do it.) It’s a temporary escape, but it doesn’t provide an extended state of contentment.

So, where does happiness come from?

Honestly, I don’t know. I think I’m one of the worst candidates to write about this topic, actually. There were days that I’ve slept for way too long just to wake up and drink more so I couldn’t stay conscious for long. There were blurry days of takeout (Korean or Chinese food or fried chicken – no, I don’t know why I remember) and wine with friends that temporarily distracted me from my state of emptiness and existential despair.

However, I do know what happiness doesn’t come from.

Besides the two points I’ve listed above, I’d like to point out that happiness does not come from other people. Sure, you’re more likely to have positive experiences and memories with friends, family, and your significant other. It’s quite easy to label happiness with these people in your life, because (hopefully) at least some of the best moments of your life were spent with their presence. However – no one else is responsible for your happiness except for yourself. It would be extremely unfair for you to believe that you’re entitled to happiness solely with the effort of your loved ones.

We all have individual insecurities and worries that we are all hyper aware of that we choose to ignore because it’s easier. It’s natural. The first big thing to do is to admit to yourself that you do have certain insecurities and issues. Once you start being honest to yourself, you gain the ability to tackle the problems that are nagging and eating you away. I’m not saying I’m super high on life right now, but I’m definitely coming to terms with who and where I am right now. I’m going to take a leap of faith and guess that being okay with where I am might be the first step to happiness. I know that I’m in a good place right now, and I’m going to head to a better one if I continue.

Personal obstacles are usually the most difficult ones to resolve, because they are what intimidate you the most. It’s okay to be scared, and it’s normal to hesitate, but remember to step forward.

That’s the first step to happiness.

4 thoughts on “Happiness.

  1. Spot on Miko! We are responsible for our own happiness. Sure, doing nice things for others might help them feel better but at the end of the day, we are not responsible for their happiness and people tend to fall into this trap of being responsible for others..myself included.

    Its difficult to pinpoint where exactly happiness starts and ends but I have read somewhere that long-term, lasting happiness as we know it, comes in the form of fulfillment. This fulfillment comes in the form of moving towards our ideal selves, the move towards self-improvement is what makes us fulfilled and happiness is a state that we eventually reach. It may explain why exercise, while painful in the moment, gives us more happiness than eating a big pizza, why raising a child, difficult and painful as it is, gives us more fulfillment than binge watching your favourite Netflix series. All of these are moving us towards our ideal selves. Forming deep relationships with our friends, family and romantic partners,while painful at times, are deeply fulfilling and bring us satisfaction and long lasting happiness like no other.

    Chasing highs are fleeting, pleasure does not equate happiness; deep fulfillment is what we are longing for.

    1. Hey Winston! As you know, I was partially inspired to write about the subject of happiness because of you. Not sure how much it’s actually helping you though, but I like sorting through the thoughts in my brain occasionally – so thank you for that. Doing nice things for other people actually makes you happier as well! I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to ramble on about psychology studies if you’re not into that. I agree with you. It’s always easy to associate happiness with people you care about, but ultimately there’s a line between how you feel when you’re with the important people in your life versus how you feel generally (or your outlook on life). Does that make sense?

      Can you tell me where you’ve read that? I want to know more about it. It makes a lot of sense, actually. I think it’s easy for people to survive nowadays (obviously, you have to eliminate outliers such as war and terrorist attacks), but we NEED more. We need to feel like we have a purpose in life, which is the sense of fulfillment that you’ve mentioned. Everyone has his/her definition of fulfillment. Some might be smaller, some might be a bit bigger, and they’re all great. Apart from personal achievements (say, run a marathon, or start a charity to combat malaria), I believe that having strong personal relationships can also create a sense of personal fulfillment, too. They’re both important. The key is to never, ever expect others (especially your loved ones!) to bring happiness TO you. It doesn’t work that way.

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