Happiness is something humans endlessly seek within their lives. Whether it is the rush of buying something new or the release of dopamine triggered by incoming mail, we all seek instant gratification at one point or another to help us feel good. But long-term, lasting happiness does not come easily. It is also entirely unreliable and can disappear or melt away at any given moment, without warning. Chasing happiness is a tiring process to endure with no guarantee that one will ever find it.
What if happiness were a journey in itself, a means without an end? You might discover there to be various degrees of happiness which are readily available to you. Or you might welcome other feelings as they arise throughout the process of learning about your individual needs. They might not always feel nice but they will always be valid, so give yourself a chance to feel them. We are all unique beings, have different life stories, and distinctive needs to fulfill. Meeting your basic needs, such as food, shelter and sleep, could be enough to bring you one step closer to feeling happy. Or, at the very least, grateful.
Consider this: perhaps it is not actually happiness we seek but a gnawing need for validation. Acknowledgement that we actually matter and that our efforts are appreciated. That we are enough. That we have a clear purpose to serve within our families, our communities. That we belong. That we have something special to offer. And deep down, we do. You do. Daily reminders of things for which you are grateful can help you feel a little more grounded and content with what you already have. After all, isn’t that more than enough?
Photo taken in Varanasi (Benares), India.