Sometimes we see happiness as a whole that should never be imperfect or fragmented.
When we’re kids we’re prepared to be happy because we are present. As we grow up, we start to build a perception of the future and how our actions define it. We learn to assign certain emotions to acts, often going from one extreme to the other and not realizing there’s a balance in life: a way that nature creates the perfect imperfection. Then we slowly learn that we can have perfect moments but not a perfect life. Happiness is feeling gratitude for those moments.
Most of the time we don’t crave change when we’re content. Only when the spell is broken by something that disturbs our comfort we find ourselves in need to move forward. We often need dissatisfaction to improve our lives. That’s why we get rid of the old, to have space for new experiences. In a way, we do need our lives to be imperfect to be able to keep living a fulfilling life.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “Satisfaction is death”. So the moment we say “I achieved my goal, I’m happy”, we start looking for something new: a different experience, another answer to a new question.
So happiness isn’t just a moment that lasts forever. It’s not about one person, it’s not about one job or a set of conditions. Happiness isn’t about being safe from life’s changes, the ups, and downs. Happiness isn’t always smiling, being cheerful, and outgoing. Happiness isn’t really an “always”. It’s sometimes, or a moment or a day. It’s the pauses in between the challenges, the moments you feel aware of yourself, the moments when you can look around without making judgments about your life.
Sometimes people think happy moments are indicators of sorrow that might come later. It might take some time to lose that belief. You don’t want the shadow of fear threatening your joy when you think it won’t last. Only when we realize we can’t actually own a feeling we overcome the fear of losing it. You can’t hide your happiness under your pillow, you can only cherish the moments you have, one at a time. You can preserve the feeling with gratitude for all that you have and had. So happiness, in a way, becomes a gift, a skill about your potential to appreciate everything around you.
At times it becomes more about disciplining your mind, rebuilding your perception, and working your gratitude muscles, which doesn’t mean you are obligated to feel this way at all. Sometimes it doesn’t really make sense and you don’t really have to be happy the way other people define it either. Maybe, focusing on being present and work with whatever you feel at that specific moment is all there is to it.
Maybe you can be well, content, good, or just okay for most of the time, and save happiness for more rare and special moments.