Happiness is....whatever you want.
GRAND statement of the day: we are obsessed with happiness.
Obviously, we are obsessed with lots of stuff. Climate change, karma, tidiness, relationships (specifically, 'relationship goals' according to the experts), animals, politics, religion...the list could fill this column.
Let's not do that.
It's just that I've read a lot about happiness recently. There's a lot of it around. Not happiness per se. Although there could be a lot of that around too.
But there's a lot of talk about it. Articles, slogans, memes...witty one-liners. It's been trending on social media. Right along with clever-things-your-cat-can-do and climate change.
Start asking what we can do, to be happy today
They're all difficult concepts. Well, maybe not the clever cats thing - although have you seen that stuff, and are you suspicious that it might be photo-shopped? - but definitely happiness and climate change.
There are, for example, the world's happiest countries. I can't remember exactly which ones they are. One or more of the Scandinavian countries are in there. Switzerland made the list. I can't recall the others.
They all have something in common. It might be extended, paid holidays, or free childcare, or equal rights for women. You'd think I'd remember something as important as that. That I wouldn't be quite so vague about the subject.
It's not that I'm dismissive of it. Far from it. It's just that as I flick through these particular posts on Facebook or Twitter, they tend to blur a bit.
Little cartoon child and the catchphrase: Happiness is...
And even if all the conditions are perfect for a happy life, surely it has to come down to the individual. I know lots of people who are always happy. At least, they always seem happy. And I know others who never seem to be happy.
One of the current theories about happiness is that we don't need self help books or therapy sessions, or anything very complicated, at all.
Apparently we just need to need to lower our expectations. There's a shocker!
Or maybe it is shocking. Maybe we've forgotten that is the secret. If there is a secret at all.
Should we stop asking ourselves what we need to make ourselves happy?
And start asking what we can do, to be happy today?
I remember those little cartoon figures from my childhood. You know the ones: little cartoon child, and the catchphrase: Happiness is...
Is what, though? But that's the beauty. It's whatever you want.
- A walk on the beach.
- A coffee with friends.
- A smile from a stranger.
- A hug.
Maybe happiness as an abstract concept, is too difficult to grasp...too difficult to achieve. Maybe we simply need to concentrate on the small stuff. The ordinary things.
So, from me to you: I hope you do something that makes you happy today.
And the day after...
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