We always have the opportunity to smile and make our day an opportunity to meet those aspects that, though insignificant, will give us great satisfaction when we go to sleep. Do you dare to connect with the bright side of life?
Gorgeous, personal, nomadic, that’s how we envision it. We miss her every time we notice her absence. They say happiness is a fleeting state, but it is also a collection of eternal moments because, although limited, they cause impressions that last in us forever.
They say that no one can live happily for long, on the one hand, because of the pain we all experience throughout life, and on the other, because it is not easy to direct the large number of experiences we live in a positive way. Experiment on a daily basis.
We say we go across the world in search of happiness, yet so often we have it at our fingertips, yet we cannot even glimpse this valuable potential clearly. Or are we not happy every time we rest under the shade of a big tree, when we put our bare feet on the grass or at those times we begin to walk aimlessly, despite our consciousness, to take on dimensions of ourselves and everything around us?
And even knowing the luxury that such experiences bring us, frankly: How many times a day do we practice them?
Learning to carry out tangible practices for dignified living was one of the great themes on which all civilizations, particularly the Greek philosophers, reflected. Plato said of it: “It is self-knowledge that leads man to happiness,” referring to the need to integrate the mind with the soul and in the same vein was his student, Aristotle, when he said: “Happiness depends only on ourselves.” The approach represents a gateway to deep communication and self-knowledge.
Epicurus also made the subject his own, but for him, besides being a personal endeavour, a universal mechanism had to be set in motion: keep it as bright as possible and not afraid of the coming of darkness, that always unexpected visitor who waits with stealth. , crouching, even in the bright moments, waiting to enter the scene. “True happiness lies in mastering fear,” he thought.
What can make us happier?
Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman, the fathers of positive psychology, studied the link between happiness and spirituality and concluded that belief in something greater than oneself provides a moral framework that becomes enduring emotional support, as it allows for the creation of meaning, purpose, and hope. A study from the University of British Columbia, Canada, concluded that children who grow up in spirituality are happier, even when they do not practice it along with a particular religion or go to any temple: “When they believe in the value of life, love of family, friendship and joy, boys are less a tendency to melancholy,” says its authors.
The joy of the heart as deep as a magnet that points to the path of life, it was one of the great teachings that Mother Teresa of Calcutta left us.
Israeli researcher Tel Ben Shahar, Ph.D. in psychology and philosophy from Harvard University, has developed a six-step guide for learning to celebrate life in every moment and in each of them there is a common denominator: the need to be whole in every moment—one of our actions and above all we choose to be. Thankful. As he explains, to achieve this, it is necessary to put aside self-demand and simplify our way of living to the fullest, and accept the idea that nothing will last forever because our essence, like any other living being, is to move according to ever-changing laws.
For him, the important thing is to understand that our human universe is governed by lights and shadows, which are never final. “It is impossible to try to live without negative feelings, because they are part of life, and they are as natural as joy, happiness and well-being. By accepting negative feelings, we will be able to open ourselves up to enjoy positivity and joy,” describes Ben Shahar in his bestselling book. Happiness: You don’t have to be perfect to live a richer life, which deals with the inquiry about the way we perceive ourselves and others.
Social media and (in) happiness
Perhaps it is modern man who must deal with the greatest challenge that humanity has faced in all of its history: to achieve the necessary discernment to find those little causes that are able to make your days happy and not be distracted by the little false mirrors of colour. It is provided by redundant information, material goods and technological innovations.
In fact, a study from Stanford University indicates that we would be much happier if we stopped using Facebook for at least a month. why? Because when analyzing the behavior of 2,844 people who had entered a “breakaway mode,” they noticed a lower emotional impact in the way they began to perceive their fears and anxiety and feel that they always lacked something to reach the goal. Expected wellness.
British writer Bertrand Russell in his book The Conquest of Happiness begins with the conviction that “many unhappy people can become happy if they make well-directed efforts.” The work is divided into two parts: causes of unhappiness and causes of happiness. To explain the first reason, Russell finds a few possible causes: competition, boredom, excitement, fatigue, and envy. As well as the feeling of sin, obsession with persecution and fear of the opinion of others, which are aspects that, according to what he writes, must be eradicated from our events if what we seek is to be free beings in the full exercise of our destiny.
On the contrary, among the “reasons of happiness,” Russell refers to the first and main one: the need to break the barriers of our ego and meet with the other.
The question imposes itself in all its breadth: Is happiness a responsibility, a job, a practice, an opportunity…? Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant declared when developing a theory based on a moral imperative: to do good in order to be happy: “Happiness, more than desire or choice, is duty.” Or, better to say, not to do what we consider morally wrong.
The apostle Paul says to the Galatians in his epistle: “Let us examine each one’s behavior, and so that he will be able to find in himself, and not in others, a reason to be satisfied.”
Yet the question is as profound as it is special: How does this spark that embraces body and soul with its wonderful warmth ignite in each one? It is clear that there is no universal law to determine the happiness of every person on earth. But most of us probably have one thing in common: the attraction of emotions that allow us to test our senses. Smells, textures, shapes, words, colours, flavours, sounds, caresses… There is no one who is not moved by the possibility that beauty can be found in any of these experiences, and even more so if they are shared (again, it is worth quoting Aristotle: “Man is a social being by nature.”
Only that, to achieve this fullness, it will be necessary to deactivate the threads that weave unexplained disappointments in our minds, and only disgust for it. Instead, we can feel sad or nostalgic from time to time and that’s also what makes us human. But we must not lose sight of the fact that the present moment gives us innumerable answers to all the great doubts that assail us daily. Why and why are we in this world? What is our real goal? When, how, with whom and why do I feel happy?
Maybe we don’t know right away, because the existential adventure is as rich and special as the soul of each person. However, there is an exercise that needs to be learned early on: formulating questions correctly enables us to detect and accept lights and shadows. This, they say, is the path to wisdom (that which lasts a lifetime). Happy trip!
Written by Maria Eugenia Sidoti for Sophia Digital Magazine. –