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Hi all,

I hope everyone is doing great!

I want to talk about happiness today because this summer has marked the break-down point of a change that has been going on for a while in my understanding of the concept. I think I have been trying to redefine what happiness is for me for quite a while because I was not happy with my earlier definition and this summer gave me the clearest ideas of what it means for me. I thought we might as well discuss the concept here because it means something different, yet similar, to everyone.

Happiness is a word we like to say; a concept we like to think about and a feeling we want to feel. It is our life goal. We (mostly) do what we do because we chase happiness. It is what we are after. We want to reach it and when we do, we want to keep it. But do we really know what it is?

I did not. I just knew I got happy when I accomplished things. I got happy when I got into the schools I wanted. When I got good grades. When I went on a vacation to a city I wanted to go to. But none of these happened, I felt the turmoil inside. Happiness was externally conditioned for me at the time.

Now is not the same. Although I still have traces of my earlier mentality, now I feel happier when I am in silence. When I have my family or friends around. When I just chill. I do not need to accomplish anything. I don’t need to do something. Just being makes me happy.

How did my understanding change? (In passing: The situation now is fluctuating, as expected from any change in life –change is not overnight-, but at least that is my dominant mindset).

Well, I battled. For a long time in my life, everything seemed to go as I wanted them to go. So, there was nothing to challenge me. But at some point, it started not going as I expected. This is life. I will not go as we want when we want all the time. That change in the flow of my life took the tools I had to make me happy. Accomplishments used to give me happiness and now they did not exist as much. So, I did not have a reason to be happy (in my mind). I started getting less and less happy and more and more resentful. Granted, I did try to change my mindset at the time. But it did not work because I had already formed the strong mindset of associating happiness with achievements. It was not easy to change it and everything associated with it. But I tried.

Then, I hit a point where I took the radical decision that I was going to leave everything behind because I was just not happy. The lifestyle I was having did not make me happy. So, why not leave that style, right?

Surprisingly, then I started feeling happy again. It did help to just let go of things I was obsessed with and thought that I could not leave without. This letting go was not a momentary thing. It was the result of years of trying to change my mindset.

I had the clearest mind about happiness this summer. Now, the life I dream is not the one where I am applauded. I dream of a life where I have a few people around me and I just chill (or work in a relatively less demanding environment). Happiness is no longer accomplishment for me. Happiness is peace. Happiness is calmness. Happiness is slow.

This does not mean that I will ditch everything I have now. It just means I will value silence and peace over chaos.

How do you define happiness? What makes you the happiest? Let’s discuss happiness.

Betul

*Permission received to reblog Betul’s piece on Happiness