A friend of mine asked me a simple question the other day: “What do you look for in someone?” And I smiled at her and replied with a simple answer: “A happy, positive person.”
Some time ago, I probably would have rattled off a long paragraph, a list of attributes that might sound a little like this: Someone who’s adventurous, passionate, driven, kind, humourous, intelligent, blah blah blah.
That was before I realised that yes, all those things matter, but there is one thing lying at the root of them – the ability to be happy.
A happy person usually derives his happiness from the things he chooses to do in his life, which he would usually be more passionate about, and that happiness drives him even more. A happy person is usually more open to trying new things and new experiences, and even if it wasn’t great, will still be happy that at least, he tried something new. A happy person knows how to laugh – at jokes, at life, at ridiculous situations, at himself. So on and so forth – but you’ll come to realize, as I did, that it all stems from the ability to be happy.
And yes, it is an ability. You need to learn it as a skill. Yes, some people might have a greater natural aptitude towards learning this ability, but it is an ability nonetheless.
Happiness is a choice, as they say. But it’s not delusion, nor is it escapism. It is the ability to accept external factors and situations that challenge it, and learn how best to work with them – not against them – circumvent them, or search for paths to cut right through them. It’s recognizing the triggers for unhappiness and actively avoiding them, or practicing how to deal with them.
It’s about not being swept mindlessly by every ebb and flow of emotion. It’s allowing things to roll right off your back. It’s selfishly guarding your happiness and refusing to let anyone or anything snatch it away from you. It’s admitting your faults and weaknesses and negative emotions and then choosing to focus on something positive within.
It’s noticing the small things that bring you joy and allowing yourself time to appreciate them and be grateful for them. It’s about the air you exude. It’s the last feeling that washes over you before you fall asleep at night. It’s always having something amazing to look forward to when you wake up in the morning.
And it’s the ability to do all these things on your own.
The problem with all this? It’s not something you can do for 20 minutes a day, three times a week, or achieve though pranamaya or meditation. It is a constant; it needs to course through your veins, beat as your heart does.
Yeah, it’ll take time to get there. Yeah, it might take me my whole life trying. Well, I’d be happy to do so. He should be too. :)