Happiness: Is it a false hope or is it really attainable?

Happiness. We all want it, and when someone’s got it, they flaunt it and everyone else has the secret hope that money can buy it. What brings happiness? People ask the Dalai Lama since he seems to have it together about what constitutes happiness and how it can be attained, but is it something that can be learned from another who’s got it, can it be developed on one’s own, or is it something deeply engrained within our being to be happy or not?

If you asked people who seem to be happy, you would get completely different answers. To a new mother it may be the scent of her sleeping baby. To the teen, who has just celebrated his eighteenth birthday, happiness may be not getting a hangover the next day. To the old lady in a purple hat, happiness may be finally knowing who she is and being content just being.

Do we search for happiness only when situations in our lives turn for the worse? I don’t have any talent for any specific thing. I am a mediocre singer, I’m an okay mom, and a so-so wife. I type at mid-range speed, and hell, I’m just an average writer. But you know what? I’m absolutely okay with that because I have a lot more to be happy about.

Happiness isn’t about how much money you have (although some of us wish this were true), or what talents you possess or how much you are idolized by others. It’s something elusive to a lot of people who yearn for a magic pill to give it to them. It’s probably the reason for many of the addictions in this world, with so many people endlessly searching for anything to make them happy for a while.

There is one mistaken assumption made by many, and it is that happiness can be taught or learned. This is not the case. It isn’t something that you can obtain by watching an instructional videos about how to smile and how hope it brings you inner joy. It’s about that there is something deep within that your heart that decides you don’t want to be unhappy. No, it is something within your subconscious that says rainy days will not deter your smile.

A piece of information that has recently come to my mind is about quality of life expectancy. It is a measured and calculated amount of happiness, really, but by whose standards are the measurements compared? One person with a severe mental disability is the happiest person you could ever meet, but according to society, they may not have “quality of life.” So are they really happy? Of course they are. It isn’t something that someone else can tell you that you have, not even if they are full of PhDs.

For me, happiness is hearing the sound of beautiful, perfect, miniature feet slapping against the floor, followed by an array of sensational giggles. Happiness is the smell of a freshly bathed child snuggling in my arms. Happiness is that full bed on Saturday morning with cuddles from two little girls and a husband. It is also in the knowledge that for all that I do, even if done incorrectly, I am still me, and that’s okay. That’s the source of my happiness. What’s yours?

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