Everyone on this earth deserves to be happy at all times. The reality of life is that happiness is not as common as air or rain- available to all and at all times. Happiness is self-created; happiness is a choice. However, many people look for happiness in the wrong places- wealth, relationships, career, friends etc. Believe it or not, these things in themselves do not provide happiness. Many of us still feel disengaged in our daily lives, often looking for something more that can’t be found in a job, a salary, material items, or other relationships. In fact, we often overlook one of the most powerful sources happiness – ourselves!
Growing up in a boarding school with some rich kids, I had assumed that happiness was coming from a wealthy family and being brought four sets of ‘provs’ with all types of assorted biscuits every visiting day. How I often admired the girls that resumed later than the rest of us before they had just flown back to the country from ‘abroad’. Going on to University, happiness again represented having a suitcase filled with clothes and a body to compliment the clothes (some of us looked just too skinny to look great in anything). Being happy looked like having a 400L club boy as a boyfriend and of course cruising a sleek car around campus.
Maturity finally taught me that happiness is not about your family or where you come from, it’s not about what you have or don’t have. Infact, you can’t will happiness. Like anything else worthy, it takes effort. Happiness is a choice that is made and consciously worked towards everyday till it becomes a ritual. Happiness is not a fleeting sentiment. It’s a deep-rooted state of mind that can’t be shaken or destroyed by a single circumstance. Happiness isn’t like water in a well, getting lower as you use it up or conversely tapping cheerful moments to replenish the bucket to its brim.
Happiness also has nothing to do with what part of the world you have come from. I used to work on the same team with a very bitter ‘oyibo’ lady; another person’s happiness becomes a source of deep sorrow for her. She often grumbles when anyone is laughing, asking why they are so happy. I knew she must have gone through some very difficult times in her life but there is no one cure for unhappiness, no panacea…it is a self made decision. She may need a trip down to the most remote part of Africa to witness genuine happiness from people who have been through the worst scenarios imaginable.
Happiness is something I aspire to live by on a daily basis, and I decided to ask some of the people in my life for their perspective on how they maintain happiness in theirs. Here are the different mantras that we live by, starting with mine.
“A lot of things can make me happy in the moment, but I’m truly happiest is when I’m spending time with my family. Family means the world to me.
A friend said to me that ‘She is happiest when she has things to look forward to. She has been like that since she was young and always find comfort in knowing there are little moments to be excited about each day’
A colleague said ‘It’s easy to look at Instagram photos and assume everyone has a perfect life — all sunny afternoons and brownies with a bit of sea salt. So when you’re stuck at work, or feeling like a hot mess, or dealing with crying kids, or struggling with big life questions, or grief, or doubt, you can feel like something is wrong with you. But! Nothing is! Everyone goes through big ups and downs, and it’s actually a good thing’
My cousin says that her happiness mantra is to LET IT GO! Because she has the tendency to majorly obsess over things.
My husband thinks he finds true happiness not by earning something, but by giving; whether it’s spending quality time with family, or providing help to a close friend, the act of giving to others is what creates true happiness.
What is your happiness mantra?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Frizzantine