“Our search for happiness can be likened to leaving home without our keys, wallet, or mobile phone, and the frantic search that ensues. It’s funny that our experience of happiness is similar to this. We run around trying to find it in absolutely every place. But when we come back home, we find out that it’s within.” - Jay Shetty.
The pursuit of joy is undervalued in today’s current high-strung age. People are rarely open to deliberately engaging in searches of what makes them happy. Instead, the demands that come with different territories, such as work, relationships, religion to name a few, leave people with the notion that actively pursuing one’s happiness is not all that important. It’s almost like happiness is an afterthought, something left to chance. A holistic approach to health and wellness, however, indicates how crucial it is to live a life full of joy. After all, a happy mind is a healthy mind.
Joy takes on different forms for different people, but its effects are common. For some joy comes as a result of acquisitions; a new pet, a new outfit, a new car or house, a new job, etc. For those that are more grounded, it comes when expectations of something good are met. Joy can come with passing a driving test, obtaining good grades, making new friends in unexpected places, or answered prayers for those that are spiritual. For some joy is found in the company of family or friends, for others, it is in the comfort of their solitude. Regardless of the different connotations of joy, we can all agree that pure joy is a universal concept. It can come with an external glow that is hard to miss, an infectious laugh at even the silliest of things. Everyone can agree that it’s preferable spending time with jovial characters who brighten the day just by being happy.
The myth to be dispelled on living a life full of joy, however, is that it is someone else’s responsibility. Sure it is good to expect the people around you to contribute to your happiness but to avoid a life of constant disappointment and bitterness, an individual needs to take sole responsibility to find their happiness. It’s not wrong to expect flowers to be delivered by a loved one because they make you happy, but what happens if said loved one forgets to buy the flowers or if they do not value gifting the flowers as much and as often as you would except?
So while we put faith in others to give importance to our happiness, it is equally important to find ways to ensure and enforce our happiness. It might mean getting to know what joy looks like to you as an individual. It is important to know what makes you happy so that it is well articulated to those that surround you and ultimately contribute to your overall happiness.
It might mean retrospection and journaling of moments when you have been happiest and finding sources of that happiness. While those moments may be tied to people who may have moved on from your current realm, it is important to visualize the actions that brought on the happiness more than the people that may have brought the happiness. Sometimes, memories may stretch back to childhood. It may surprise you that you need to go that far back to associate joy than with what joy looks like now, but the purest happiness is often, but not exclusively, found during childhood. Merging moments of happiness during childhood with your current season can look like modifying a favorite game or hobby developed as a child, which can be a fun project to engage in by yourself or in the company of others.
There are also books that you can read on pursuing a life full of joy and most of them are just one click away. The age of technology also brings with it podcasts from different life coaches, examples of which include the likes of Jay Shetty- a renowned motivational speaker, lifestyle blogger, and former monk.
Mr. Shetty poses an ideology that we’ve all been exposed to various definitions of happiness with scientific and mathematical algorithms that add up to the equation of happiness. There are also issues of promotion and career progression as measures of happiness. An anecdote is given by Mr. Shetty of a teacher who asked her students what they wanted to be when they grow up. A little boy wrote down ‘happy’ because he understood that happiness is part of his being while most believe it sits high on the corporate ladder next to a healthy bank balance, or a significant other, or a house with the proverbial white picket fence.
Whilst these can bring joy, they are not the be-all and end-all of a satisfactory life. There is more to that to those willing to look beyond.
One important thing in the pursuit of a joyful life, however, is realizing that challenges come with the territory. It would be naïve to think that just because you are being deliberate at being joyful, you will be happy every waking moment. It would also be a shame to live a miserable life in anticipation of what could go wrong. Instead, it is essential to find your source of happiness despite trying times. Be deliberate enough with your happiness to know what can help you bounce back from trials.
Ultimately, a happy life is attainable once we realize that it is an inside job. It just requires determination to live to the fullest, chalking up defeats and disappointments as unavoidable but passing phases. Each deliberate action you take to be happy will reward you and attract nothing but the best. Choose to be deliberate in pursuing a life full of joy.