Unconventional ways of happiness


Chukwuneta Oby

I have had reasons to re-think ‘happiness’ as most of us understand it. A French philosopher (Charles de Montesquieu) once said, “If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.’’

The first thing to understand about happiness is that it is its own success. Meaning that, it’s its own end point.

And it’s not something that the life of another person can define for you. Only you can give it your own meaning.

I read a story in the newspapers sometime back. It’s about a teacher who uses her ‘lunch break’ to stitch together the torn uniforms of her students.

When discovered, she explained that helping out with that makes her happy. One thing that I understood early about happiness is that it springs from our efforts towards others. But it has to be IN you before it can come FROM you. Only through that process (of outflow), can the source be refilled.

For it to be complete, happiness has to flow from source (you) into another. Coming from you, it fulfills you. Flowing into another, it nourishes them.

Happiness is never about you but its purpose through you. And if that purpose isn’t happening, you won’t lead a fulfilled life.

Sometimes, when you feel empty (even when you seem to have it all), earnestly search within to ensure you are enabling this process in your life. The happiness that doesn’t flow to others isn’t fulfilling! The fulfillment lies in the ‘sharing.’

In fact, someone described happiness as the story that when you use it to change the story of others, you are invariably writing yours. Happiness dwells in gratitude but elusive in entitlement. It is said that happiness has no value unless it’s expressed via goodness. And that “happiness often sneaks into a door you didn’t think was open.”

Most unhappy people are those who believe life is unfair, based on how they feel their life should be. But the easiest way to keep happiness at bay is to conclude that life pours for others while it only drizzles for you.

Life neither drizzles nor pours all the time for anybody.

You can only fertilise happiness in your life through gratitude.

Happiness does not recognise later/someday. It banks on the NOW of every moment. If (for example), WHAT YOU HAVE can’t make you happy. It’s not likely that WHAT YOU WILL HAVE can wave that magic wand because happiness is not tied to destinations.

Neither does it dwell on the past nor brood over the future. It operates only in the present.

Happiness resides in efforts. That is, it is process driven.

Thoughts of an action are never guarantee for happiness.

The ‘doing’ is what births happiness.

Happiness has no attachments. It manifests in embracing the uncertainty of life. You will lead a happier life, if you cling to nothing. Happiness isn’t compatible with rigidity.

Just as a cold heart blocks love. A closed mind is a blockade to happiness. Thus, flexibility makes for a happier life.

Happiness is easily projected in moderation. Over indulgence (of any type) is symptomatic of a life that is elusive of happiness. This is because, when we are not in harmony from within, we seek happiness via excessive tendencies.

If sought elsewhere but within, it becomes elusive. Only when it comes from within, can it be meaningfully given out.

Happiness looks for chances/opportunities to happen. And it doesn’t seek guarantees because its sacredness lies in its ‘agenda-free’ nature. The resentment/regret that follows certain ‘goodness’ is because happiness was premised on expectations. Genuinely happy people don’t do ‘calculated goodness.’ Because, happiness springs from the deed and not expectations!


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