On being happy and being content
When you meet someone either by chance or intentionally, the first question that usually flies in the air is “how are you?”. It is usually one intended to find out the state of your health. Physically. So the answer that often follows is “I am well”. Hardly anyone will ever come up to you with the first question they are eager to ask being “are you happy?”. Yet being happy is intrinsically linked to the positive state of your health. We just sometimes choose to ignore it.
We all know it is important to be happy, or at least try to be. And it is not only because of the cringe marks that you get when you frown. It is because when you’re happy, you feel like you’re flying. Like you’re weightless and floating on a cloud. Feeling happy makes you view the world in a brighter and more positive light. And given the problems and stress that are constantly weighing down on us during these times, we need to feel happy.
But more often than not, we aren’t happy. We are simply content.
We may be satisfied with the life we have, what we achieve, and be pleased with ourselves overall. But are we truly happy? Do you feel that spark in your eyes when you smile? Or that flutter in your stomach whenever you see a loved one? Do you have a skip in your step? Do you see the world clearly in a dazzling light or is it dim in your eyes?
Being happy and being content are two different things.
Happy is when you indulge in the fascinating world of a book, when you mingle among the characters, discover the very depths of their beings, and are anxious to learn all their dirty little secrets.
Content is when you turn the last page of the book and re-emerge into the real world, which you realise is nothing at all like the one you just read.
Happy is watching a movie. Being so immersed in it that you block everything out. That you feel part of the plot itself, so close that you can even sense the warm breath of the characters down your neck.
Content is when your viewing is interrupted for some reason and you have to wait to see the ending. And then, it is after witnessing that emotional rollercoaster and acknowledging that life is nothing close to that movie.
Happy is being close to your family; sharing emotions and experiences; and holding long conversations about anything and everything.
Content is when you realise that this family is all you have, as you’re too afraid to go looking for someone who could become part of a new / extended family.
Happy is achieving your dreams and ambitions and being acknowledged for the work you do.
Content is having all that, but no-one to share it with.
Happy is one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs. He is bubbly and bright, friendly and cheerful.
Content is not one of the dwarfs, or any other character for that matter. Being content implies a limitation in the feeling of satisfaction and certainly does not radiate the perkiness of someone who is truly happy.
So, you see, for the sake of the dwarf alone, it is worth being happy. And although there is so much written on how to achieve this, what to do and what not – including the fact that being happy is simply a decision you have to make – happiness will truly flow into your heart when you allow it to. When you stop overthinking, over-wallow, and oversulk, and just be. Don’t compare, don’t compete, just be the best you can be.