I've been thinking a lot about happiness recently, and what it means to different people. A lot of people seem to think that happiness comes from money, and in many ways this is true - money brings you comfort, desires, security. But at the same time this often isn't enough, and there always seems to be higher levels of content people aspire to, yet never achieve. This has made me think that perhaps we don't really know what happiness is, and what we are chasing after is just a temporary fix rather than the real thing.
On the way to work yesterday, I saw a homeless man sitting on the side of the street, drawing. Although he may have been doing this to pass the time, I didn't get the impression that he was. It made me almost emotional to see that no matter what his story was, or what hardships he was going through, he could still find some enjoyment and solace in a simple activity. Then I realised, true happiness comes from the small things in life.
A policeman stopping on his rounds to watch a street performer, laughing at the way he plays around with the spectators. A homeless man smiling as someone acknowledges him, and asks if he is alright. A woman grinning as she picks up her friend's baby.
Maybe we are all looking for something that is right in front of our face, happening around us all the time. Of course, everyone is different in regards to what makes them happy - some people might always see this in material objects, or other may see this in a picture of the future, for example in having a family. Looking at this from another perspective, when struggling with mental illness or even if you just feel sad, being happy seems impossible. But we are all missing out on such easy opportunities to smile, to feel good. I used to attend a club where I worked with adults who had learning difficulties, and it always amazed me how happy everyone was all the time, when I struggled to achieve this on a daily basis. There was such a zeal for life that was beautiful to behold, and happiness that was spread around in the most simple gestures - someone linking their arm through yours, asking how you are, giving you a spontaneous hug. Happiness became contagious, and just to see other people happy was enough to make you happy yourself.
Everyone in that club showed me how we are in charge of happiness, both for ourselves and for others. The other day when I went shopping, I saw something that my partner loves, so I bought it for him without telling him. When he returned home and saw it, he was happy. This happiness did not solely come from the object itself, but because he knew that I had thought of him when I got it.
We can create happiness - if we let ourselves.
Happiness is just outside my window
Would it crash blowing 80-miles an hour?
Or is happiness a little more like knocking
On your door, and you just let it in?
The Fray - Happiness