The source of happiness (for an anxious, pessimistic idiot)

Happiness, it’s a tricky concept and the title of a very depressing film.  Happiness can be achieved in many ways and I’ve found that there is more happiness in my life, since I let it in. But what is it that creates happiness?

Google ‘happiness’ and you’ll learn that it involves jumping in the air and stretching out your arms. You’ll also be entertained by the horrible cliché quotes that are representing the mental state of happiness.

Yoda
I listened to the Smodcast by Kevin Smith today, where Smith and Scott Mosier (allegedly) get stoned and discuss stuff. They discussed a little video of George Lucas, talking about happiness. Happiness, he says, can be achieved through either joy or pleasure. Pleasure is an intense rush, like a drug infusion to your system, that gives momentary happiness… and eventually sadness when it wears of. It’s self centred as well, it’s all about you. That makes sense. I used to be satisfied with one Kinder Bueno, now I need five and then I feel depressed due to my stomach ache. It’s a silly metaphor, but you always want more of the things that give you pleasure.

Joy however, is a persuit that last forever. It’s something you can recall, it’s giving something to another from yourself, its compassion. It’s much smaller and a choice. I chose to persue happiness in the happiness of persuit. So where do I take my joy from these days? He was being true to his creation of Yoda there, very much so. Giving a shard of wisdom in a humble and traight forward way.

The world looks very nice
I had a strong tendency to look at the world as a grimy, grim place full of people that were evil. Seriously, that is a hard way to go through life if you aren’t playing Skyrim (even there compassion only sometimes bites you in the ass). Something changed though, I can see things differently now. Today I was feeling joy at things I saw around me. I was cycling and listening to this podcast, passing by the bus station. I saw a bus driver with his son. He had dreads, that looked very good, like he really took care of them. He greeted his colleague and walked through the bus. It sounds sad, but the fact that two people with different skin colours actually say hi makes me happy and hopeful these days. He proceeded, while smoking a cigarette, while instructing his kid to open the bus and get in. That was nice, a dad showing his kid the ropes. I enjoyed that. A little later I cycled over a small bridge. A man in dress shirt, carrying a brief case walked over it too. He stopped and turned towards the water, his face relaxed and he stood there enjoying the water. It was nice to see. This is the beauty I see around me now.

People
My greatest joy comes from interacting with people. It’s still a conscious thing sometimes to show empathy and ask those helpful questions, but more and more it goes automatically. It feels natural and I enjoy giving these small amounts of good to others. I love nothing better than cheering someone up, helping them out or succesfully arguing about some point. Not in the manner I used to, where I’d be aggressive, impatiant and defensive, but calmly and openly.

Noise
All in all I enjoy the world around me a lot more and I feel much calmer and more patient. Still, that’s all on a good day. I have more good days then I ever had before I think. Still, there are days when there’s all this noise, this distortion in my head and I can’t get to those good parts, where pleasure is my happiness.

Let me try to explain what that noise is. I have a lot of anxiety, so much that I have decided to try and really work on that. Now, everyone feels anxious sometimes, but why does it become noise? Well, simple. Imagine that anxious moment, where you worried everything would go wrong and the worst possible outcome was waiting for you. Everyone has such moments. Got it? Now imagine having that pretty much about anything, worrying and preparing for the worst all the time. It creates a lot of buzzing noise in ones head. Sometimes enough to not see the beauty around you anymore and the good side of people.

Source: Abdol Rauf

So what is the point? Well, Karma.
So what am I really saying there about happiness? Well, even though I still struggle in my persuit of joy, I am finding it and through it happiness. George Lucas is spot on, unlike with Jar Jar Binks, with his statement. This persuit is well worth it and has improved my life a lot this far. It’s all about Karma, what you give you get. If you invest in your happiness by giving, you’ll receive. I can tell you that much. I’m not there yet and I certainly had to ask for help many times along the way.

Surely, I don’t have the final answers. Just an uphill struggle and my experiences with that. I’m trying to give that little bit to anyone who is willing to appreciate it. That’s enough for me.

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