This is it. This marks the beginning. The beginning of my happiness revolution.
All my life, I’ve tried so hard to contend with the challenges and emotions that I have been thrown at me. I’ve blamed my suffering on my karma baggage. I’ve blamed my depression on the unfairness of life. I’ve thought I suck for not knowing what exactly what I want to do in life, and for not being able to suppress my anxieties and concerns.
I will no more.
I’m devoting my life to the pursuit of happiness, and this means happiness before ‘success’. What is success anyway?
My Facebook status from yesterday:
For decades, I’ve been subjected to your control; letting you choose what I will do with my life, letting you tell me what success means, letting you turn every damn thing into some sort of competition, letting you make me feel like a failure. You know what. From now, I refuse to be controlled. I refuse to let you choose my path. I will control my own life, and I will not let you ruin my happiness.
So, to me, society is a bitch. It controls us, consumes us, leads us to fight and vie for our individual successes. As Tal Ben Shahar said in his book Happier, success of one becomes a failure of another. So we get egocentric and maliciously competitive at times, leading to an unhealthy society, who is amid the ‘Great Depression’; the extreme lack of happiness, that is. Happier points out to the fact that half of the college students said in a survey that they were so depressed they had difficulty functioning. That is not good, isn’t it? College is supposed to be the best time of your life, right? What are we doing wrong here?
We’re giving in to the society. Society defines success as getting the good grades, winning the most competitive awards, getting the highest paying, prestigious job and becoming wealthy. Is that success? Moreover, somehow, people with jobs related to the hard sciences are deemed smarter and better than people with jobs in anything else. Am I right, society?
Well, brace yourself, for I am going to stand up to you now.
For the longest time, I was subservient to you. I yearned for good grades in school because you like that. I have it. I yearned for a scholarship because you like that. I have it. I yearned to get into a good college because you like that. I am in one. I yearned to get a good internship because you like that. I don’t have it. I yearned to do more than engineering and be the leader of everything because you like that. I can’t. Everything – I mean, everything – was about you. Now it’s about me.
I’m asking the question of all questions now: How can I get lasting happiness?
I’m not listening to you anymore. I will do what I want to be happy. I will pursue my passions. I will do what I believe is meaningful in life. I am proud of myself for this.
And to my friends out there:
If you’re happy now and you think you’ll be happy in the future, good for you. If not, here’s what I have to say (adapted mainly from Happier): What are your goals in life right now? Why do you want that? Why? Why? Why? Keep asking yourself the series of why, and I believe in the end the answer is ‘Because I want to be happy.’ You will realize that happiness is, and should be, the ultimate goal. Yet, the path you’re taken now may be so out of touch with this. Happiness can be obtained by pursuing what matters to you on the inside, and knowing that every single one of you here is meant to add meaning and purpose to the world, and everyone of you can be happy.
It’s not easy I know. I feel bad dropping a class because now my schedule is not ‘intense’ enough. I feel bad being uncertain about my future, because that’s weak. I feel bad putting happiness first, because the society seems to disagree. I feel bad doing all this, because I still do care what the society thinks. The society is everywhere, and it has millions of eyes, but I will fight. Somebody’s got to.
We can do this together.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
I’ll leave you with that. Light up, light up, because you have a choice.