Since the time when I was a kid, my father always said one thing to me – “Your aim in life should not be to be successful someday, or get an ideal job or earn money, you must only aim at being happy, and feeling content”. As a kid, it made no sense to me. I thought that the things that he had already eliminated from the “what should be your aim” list, were the key to happiness. Moreover, because of being brought up in a family with understanding parents, a loving sister and good financial status, I took happiness for granted. It was only when I reached 11th standard, I realized that one has to earn happiness like any other thing in this world. Reality hit me. I realized that life was about more than just getting good grades. What was it? Why was I suddenly thinking about so many things, which had barely held any importance in my life till now.
Usually when I know the reason behind what is happening in my life, I am able to control it, but this time I had no idea what was happening. It was stress, my father said, hormones, my mother added. But none of the answers satisfied me. I was questioning each and everything happening around me. I could feel every thought of mine the way I had never before, as if each of them had taken a tangible form and was stuck within me.
There was nothing unusual about my life, it was still the same. Then why did I have to face all these new feelings? Later, I came to the conclusion that somehow I had made my life more complicated. The next question was, how? Every now and then I used to think about what my father had told me. So pushing all the things aside, I started working on being happy.
I asked myself, what are the things that make me happy? My rational self gave me a lot of answers – things, people. But my emotional self was still confused. All I was doing was making my rational self think of answers, but every time it could think of one, my emotional self came up with some good reason to eliminate it. The emotional self won each time. I don’t have anything to be happy about, I thought. Why was it so hard? But this fine day, I realized something. I had been associating my happiness with things and people. Isn’t that what everyone does? Instead of looking for happiness within, we look for it outside. Till the time I was in class 10th, I associated my happiness with my parents, friends and my studies. Thus it was not hard to find happiness.
In class 11th, in a class full of intelligent students, I was obviously not the best anymore. It made me feel non-existent. Why? Because I had built an image of myself in my head. To me that had become my identity. And I associated my happiness to that identity, that image. After losing that identity, I felt empty. I had this desperate urge to associate my happiness to something or someone else. Probably something more tangible, because that will have very a less tendency to be lost, I thought.
In the beginning of class 12th, I met this person through social media. I finally found someone with whom I could be myself. And there, I had someone to associate my happiness to. The idea that a person who is not bound to me by the relation of blood, wants to take an interest in my life, just for the sake of it amazed me. But for some reason that person couldn’t be a part of my life for a long time. This time, when he left, it was even harder. My life felt emptier than ever. I simply needed someone to fill the place that he had left. In an attempt to keep that place filled, and to keep my happiness associated to someone or something, I started losing hope. They say any kind of addiction is bad and I was getting addicted to the idea of having someone who’d take the responsibility of my happiness.
Sometimes, I curse my father for putting this idea in my head and not telling me how to apply it practically in life. But also sometimes I feel had he not told me, I would have wandered around, without knowing what I am looking for, and the anxiety would have killed me from within.
The solution to all this fuss, is very clear to me. I have to stop associating my happiness to others. But by knowing the solution, can I solve the problem? The answer is “NO”. Once you have the solution to your problem, it is solved, that, in my mind is nothing but a misconception. Especially when the problem involves human consciousness and emotions.
In my opinion, most of the people tend to associate their happiness to someone. They feel that they have a void inside them and someone or something must fill it. It is impossible to not feel this way. With intelligence, humans also gained the tendency to expect. They tend to depend on others for happiness without thinking about the repercussions because it gives them a sense of relief and its an act of unloading your own bag of responsibilities.
I’ve still been doing the same thing, because firstly, it is always unintentional and secondly, it is hard to not do something we have been doing since childhood, it becomes a way of living life. All I can think of doing is look for something which will stay forever like an ambition or a goal and associate my happiness to it, which is again something hard but not impossible.
To conclude, I would like to say that human brain is a lot more complicated than we think and the more we crave happiness, the more it takes us away from it, because I believe, we all need a reason to live, and a desire to keep us going.