That’s a big question to ask, because one person’s happiness may not be the same as another’s. What brings a smile to someone’s face may cause another to frown; it all comes down to the individual.
A great man once famously said: “When I was five years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the question. I told them they didn’t understand life.”
That man was John Lennon. A man who is 40 years on this planet brought more joy into the lives of many than most do in twice the amount of time. He found his happiness not only through music but also through standing up for what he believed was right.
Happiness of Others
Some believe that one can never truly be happy without bringing happiness to others. When you do something altruistic, purely for the benefit of another person – possibly a complete stranger – the results are something quite beautiful.
Sadly, there aren’t enough of these selfless acts in the world today, with it becoming more and more commonplace for people to walk past fellow human beings clearly struggling in the street as though they weren’t even there. In many cultures, the example has been set to put one’s happiness aside in order to help those most in need. Possibly the best example of this can be found in Islam, where Muslims calculate a percentage of their disposable income to make an annual donation called zakat. You can see here for an example of how this donation is calculated.
For many, life is about finding a purpose – what it is that we are meant to do. A calling, if you will. A lucky few find this very early on in their life, while others spend many years searching for what they believe their purpose in life is.
This isn’t necessarily limited to one’s career path as there is so much more to life than the hours we spend ‘on the clock’. Outside of work is arguably where we are at our best as our creativity is allowed to run wild and can express ourselves without seeking the approval of managers and/or clients.
Hobbies offer us an escape from the usual day to day life. Some hobbies offer solace, the opportunity to be with one’s self, while others encourage us to mix in with the community. Hobbies are fun because they are just that, hobbies, meaning that we are not constrained to meeting targets or appeasing anyone but ourselves. Many that turn their hobbies into a career quickly fall out of love with it, failing to find the happiness they sought out.
Learning to Love Yourself
Happiness comes from within and that means being happy with yourself. If you aren’t happy with who you are, then anything else is just going to mask your underlying unhappiness. As the saying goes, if you can’t love yourself then you can’t love anyone else. This takes time, some longer than others, but once you feel comfortable in your own skin that is when you can truly say that you are happy.
Happiness can be found in many ways, whether it is finding yourself, finding your true calling or just finding a new hobby. As Lennon said, the only thing he wanted in life was to be happy because he understood.
*This is a collaborative post*