Happiness paradigm

Happiness is an abstract notion that nobody has come close to define in its literal form. Some say happiness is a fleeting moment of glee, where you help a dog out of a wired trap and set it free, free from agony. While some say happiness is a prolonged state of contentment when you have everything you need, you are successful, and at peace. “A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best”, says Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay on “Self-Reliance”. Success is determined by the actions of a person. When a person works for his goals and succeeds, he feels a prolonged elation. But does the absence of failure inevitably means the presence of happiness? While success is what all humans endeavour for to be happy, the truth is, those who don’t get it, envy the ones who do. Those who do get it, fight with their inner demons who still refuse to settle. Where is the happiness in all this? This phenomenon seems to indicate that success does not lead to inevitable happiness, even if we have worked hard towards it. Certain failures, whether they may be professional or personal, in the workplace or a relationship, certain failures are bound to catch our feet and drag us through the filth that the unsympathetic world throw at us. Could this be a sign that people do not have control over their happiness, that happiness is determined by a phenomenon such as fate? “Failure is everywhere, it’s just that most of the time we’d rather avoid confronting the fact”, this was quoted by Oliver Burkeman in his article “happiness is a glass half empty” (2012). While failure is a ubiquitous existence that follows each person like a hunter tailing its prey, waiting for it to become vulnerable so he could strike, there are ways through which we can avoid befalling into its depraved claws. By avoiding confrontation. Burke might have quoted that statement in disgust for people who fail to confront their failures. I ask, is refusing to confront failure a bad deed, or just a loophole to evade the tragedy of sadness, the archenemy of happiness? People who can have the nerve to turn a blind eye towards failures, but pick themselves to move straight towards new havens of success, not only control their happiness but dictate it. However, there is one thing a person requires to be in control of their happiness in a way that fate does not intervene; by having the courage, determination, and emotional strength to turn a blind eye to failure. Above all, he should have the mental strength to turn a blind eye to what the world says or thinks of him. “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think”, Waldo Emerson writes. People have opinions on everything and everyone. Whether one succeeds or fails, there are going to be discussions, and they are not always going to be pretty. However, the art of not caring about public opinion allows a person to dictate his happiness. He can remain content and at peace, as long as the opinion of the world on him, good or bad, doesn’t control his happiness, but he controls his happiness.

Khushi Khatter

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