Is it possible to have happiness as a constant in our lives? Surely, the answer is yes as when we are asked the question of what is our ultimate goal most of us reply with the generic answer of wanting to achieve happiness.
Time and experience has taught me that the answer is in fact a resounding no. Social conditioning, media, environment – call it what you will, forces an expectation within ourselves to strive for this elusive happiness. The chase begins at a young age, and if not drawn in by self-reflection, can continue till our last days.
Happiness is a temporary emotion, not a permanent one. It should not be the end goal, rather a peak of emotional well being along our turbulent graph of life. To expect that peak to become a fixated feature of one’s life is both misconceived and highly unrealistic. Aim to achieve contentment: it offers a steady state of peace, where a secure circle of friends and family and a strong mind ensures that even in moments of difficulty, the promise of support and care will offer hope. Contentment is when one achieves an immovable confidence so that when the graph of our lives is heading towards a deep trough, we are already preparing ourselves psychologically to climb out of it.
Happiness is fickle. One knock and it falls fast. Contentment has the strength to get straight back up.
From the perspective of Islam, true happiness simply doesn’t exist in this world. It is the journey and the destination of the hereafter that defines real happiness – paradise was created precisely for this purpose:
O you who believe, what (excuse) have you that when it is said to you, Go forth in Allah’s way, you should incline heavily to earth? Are you contented with this world’s life instead of the Hereafter? The provision of this world’s life is but little as compared with the Hereafter.
Faith and to please Allah is for me, the ultimate form of happiness. Materialistic gain has no place in the definition of a meaningful, lasting happiness.
To spend all our lives searching for a happiness that this world cannot offer is a futile process. We buy a new car – happiness resides for a while, till we desire the better model. The happiness we feel when we fall in love can be so extreme that no words can encapsulate our feelings, but that happiness in time for some, becomes contentment, whilst others lose the positivity of the relationship altogether. Year after year, we find happiness in our experiences and in the people we meet, but that happiness is balanced with difficult experiences that test our emotions to the limit.
So relax and accept that ever lasting happiness is not a realistic goal. Enjoy the journey: embrace those moments of happiness with vigour and gratitude whilst aiming for the contentment of knowing that sad times will encourage the growth of a strong and reflective individual