We all find our joy, peace, and happiness in different places. For some, it is when those around them are happy and laughter fills the atmosphere. For others, it is the heavenly scent of dodo. For many, happiness is the gentle purr of their hearts and the satisfaction of their souls.
What does happiness mean to you?
In today’s world, many people are empty shells covered in skins and bones. They have hearts that are devoid of happiness and bodies that are shroud in sadness and sorrow. It is getting increasingly difficult to be happy – especially when you live in this part of this world where nothing seems to be working. There’s bad news everywhere: deaths of loved ones that remind us of how fickle life is; betrayals of families and the backstabbing of friends.
A lot of people are surrounded by many people, but they are lonely and sad. A lot more people are acquiring wealth, but this wealth is, in turn, ripping joy off their hearts. Others are killing innocent souls for power, but this power does not come with peace of mind or joy. Even the heat seems to contribute to our sorrow.
What then brings happiness – especially in this world filled with wails and tears?
Happiness has many voices and shapes and it comes in the least expected places. Happiness can show up in the face of that dancing traffic warden at Maryland who, in spite of the heavy traffic, has a smile plastered on her face as she waves for cars to halt or move.
Happiness is the dimpled face of your newly born baby who, in his innocence, is oblivious to the many woes of the world. Happiness comes in the little voice of your son who calls your neighbour’s daughter ‘soeee’ instead of Sophie. Happiness is when you are nodding your head and singing your favourite song with your shrill voice and your daughter says “mummy, why are you crying?” and when you look at her nonplussed, she would shrug and say “well, it sounded like you were crying”. Happiness is when you watch your children fight on who will ‘catch the air’ and watch your son start crying when his sister accuses him of ‘finishing the air’.
Happiness comes in the car park where teenage girls run to you begging that you buy oranges from them. When you decide to buy oranges from them all, their face lights up, they giggle and smile their all-teeth-showing smile and you smile too, because laughter and smiles are infectious. Happiness is in the face of that beggar whose day is made when you give him a 200 Naira note. Happiness comes when you are jogging and the conductor of a moving yellow bus shouts “gbe body e, ma kere” or the one who says to you “my sister, smile, life no too hard” when he sees you sulky and cranky.
Are you happy?
Your default response might be to say “no”, but think about it, why are you not happy?
Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. But is life good? Has life been good to you?
Many times, we view life from the lens of imperfection, fear, and uncertainty – a world where the strong trample on the weak, where the rich suck from the poor and where government officials continually stuff their overgrown bellies. We see a country that is failing, a nation that is filled with doom and gloom and a group of hopeless and despairing citizens who continuously regret their existence.
Are you one of them? For as long as you focus on the failed state of your nation and the unyielding situation of your life, you can never be happy. Life doesn’t have to be good for you to be happy, you can choose to see the cup half-empty or half-full. You can choose to find happiness in little places or carry the problems of this world on your head.
You can choose to focus on the aspects of your life that are not going well, or you can decide to look back and be grateful for how far you have come.
Being happy is a conscious decision that you have to make.
Happiness does not have to come in Santa’s attire or be robed in the finest linen, happiness only comes when you choose to see things in positive light. Happiness is you having a discussion with yourself in the bathroom before leaving for work and making a decision not to let anyone or any situation get under your skin.
Happiness comes when you receive that rejection mail and after crying for a while, you flip your hair, give yourself a pat for at least trying and then move on. E go be.
Happiness is you falling off the stairs in a shopping mall and instead of cowering in shame, you smile at those laughing and give them a wave.
Happiness can only come to you when you choose to live your best life, irrespective of the sour grapes life throws at you. Happiness comes from within and only radiates into the outside when you have enough fill of it.
Life will never always turn out the way you want, you can choose to stew in the bitterness of your loss, or move on with the faith that things will always get better.
The day you make peace with yourself and be content with who you are is the day you find happiness.
So let your happiness come from within you and it will never dry out.