Why are we not happy?
In the course of my counseling sessions, I come across people from all age/ class/social groups. Whatever be their personal problems, one sentence keeps creeping in again and again — ‘ I AM NOT HAPPY’.
We all strive so much — all in the pursuit of Happiness. In fact, most of our actions, thoughts and even relationships are directed towards this one target — HAPPINESS. Yet, after having done all, we are still not happy — strange! But is it really strange after all?
Let’s analyze why is there so much of unhappiness.
FIRSTLY, what exactly is HAPPINESS? There is no set definition of happiness; it is as we perceive it to be. For nearly all of us (yes, I intentionally said NEARLY ALL), comforts, luxuries, status, careers, property, possessions, etc denote Happiness.
No wonder we keep pursing them all the time — we work hard, burn ourselves out, even edge out our relations — all in the desire to attain things which we think would make us happy. The moment we achieve them, we think we are happy. Yes, THINK! Because that is not real happiness; that is the feeling of comfort and elation at having succeeded to reach a mark.
If it was real happiness, it should have been forever. But is it? NO, it isn’t! After some time, we resume our pursuit because our so called ‘Happiness’ has already started to wear off. Now, we look out for a new target and the cycle continues. And ONE DAY, we realize we lived for so many years and STILL we are not HAPPY. Everything appears futile. Many a times, it’s too late too.
SECONDLY, expectations lead to unhappiness. Expecting means anticipating something. When you expect something from yourself, it is fine. You know your own self, your plus points, your shortcomings and how much can you push yourself to convert that expectation into reality.
The problem is in expecting from others. OTHERS can be anyone — your relatives, friends, employers, anyone… . They are all good people. But their set of circumstances are different, their priorities are different, their nature, their perceptions, their dreams — all may not match with yours! Yet you anticipate that they should act, speak and behave in a particular way. And when this doesn't happen or when we are unable to do anything about it, it results in UNHAPPINESS. The real reason was not them — it was us expecting something — over which we had no control!
THIRDLY, the biggest reason for our unhappiness is we are barely in the PRESENT to enjoy the Happiness!
Most part of our present is spent in brooding or thinking about the Past and worrying/dreaming about the Future. We are never present in the Present to enjoy the moment. No wonder, most of the time most of us are so disoriented or confused. How can we be HAPPY in such a state?
FOURTHLY, now this may sound a cliche — but it’s a fact: we are unhappy because we look for happiness in the MATERIAL THINGS. But Happiness is NOT a material thing!
Material things are perishable — they will end one day and obviously the ‘Happiness’ they gave shall also come to an end with them. Remember, material things can give you comfort and convenience, but not happiness. Have you ever noticed most of the things which gave you happiness were the ones which are never sold or purchased? They are deserved or discovered!
And yes, there is one more reason for unhappiness — when you start asking questions to which you do not get instant answers. This then is an indication of you slowly moving on to the path of spirituality which might lead to Eternal Happiness. So be HAPPY!