Happiness: Here and now


Illustration by Brazilian Artist Lossi.

Pedro Braga, Staff Writer

You do not need to succeed to be happy, but you need to be happy to succeed. But what do we need to be happy? The answer is much simpler than it seems. Happiness is about making good daily choices.

Happiness, what it is and how to obtain it, has long been a conversation creating debates and differing opinions. At a young age we are taught happiness will come when we achieve success. Society states that happiness is about having a good job with a great salary, but this is not what everyone seeks or dreams about.

Success and happiness are similar ideas, but those two things don’t have the same meaning to everyone. It is not one general thing that we all identify with. Everyone has their own dreams and desires.

We need to realize that happiness is not some place where we will arrive, it is a way of traveling. And currently it’s been a struggle for us to define how to walk on this “way” -or manner-. This “way” is the manner we live in taking decisions towards a happy life. Decisions based on what we believe to be true, on what we think is correct, and not on what someone else thinks.

Happiness can not live only in the “happy hour” on Friday after 6pm until Sunday when we go to sleep, before waking up early on Monday. It has to be consistent and found in little things.

For this reason, we must identify what these little things are that happen everyday and from which happiness can be enjoyed.

People have different ideas of what happiness means to them. It is our job, as individuals to find out where to extract it from, or we will never feel complete if we don’t try.

Talking about happiness, Luke Benson, 19, Santa Rosa Junior College Psychology major, said, “I know so many people who strive to live just for today, just for the moment, just for those fleeting feelings of joy. I’d rather strive for an ultimate satisfaction. Sacrificing fleeting joy, in my mind, is worthwhile for a final sense of fulfillment at the end of one’s life.”

This is how he guides himself in the way of happiness and that is a very valid opinion which makes us think not only in the present moment but also for the future.

In our modern and materialistic world, it may be a good way to start thinking about happiness in an “out-of-the-box way.” Going against the idea that happiness equates to success, and vice-versa, may help reshape the idea that to be happy you must have a good job and a family.

In a New York Times article, “Happiness Is Other People,” by Ruth Whippman, it found that happiness drives success. In recent discoveries, through the field of positive psychology, it shows no one can be happy alone.

Whippman mentions the “necessary condition for happiness” which is, according to her, good social relationships. Meaning that the predictor of a happy life is to have positive relationships. Through her research she’s found that to be happy we should spend less time alone.

The necessity for good relationships affects extroverts as much as introverts. We must cultivate good relationships so we can be happy and obtain the success we really aim for.

My idea of happiness is to be close to who and what I love. To travel, to know new places, people and their stories. Life is too short to spend time and energy with people and activities which never bring us joy.

For this reason, our happiness has to happen right here and right now, at this present moment, which is intensified when shared with others. In the movie, “Into the Wild,” the main character, Christopher McCandless writes a letter that reads,“Happiness is only real when shared.”

It is great to share happiness. We need people to love and people who love us back. To feel happy is to live, at least for a second, a moment that you wish never to end. And this is to feel truly alive. But it is rare to live, alone, in moments like this.

Happiness is not a destination, but a way of life. It’s a choice each of us has to make. It might be difficult, but the first step is to decide to be happy. The next step is to respect how others approach happiness. It might be different from your method (and it will probably be), but it’s a unique decision for each one of us. There’s no right way -or path- we must find joy in the journey itself.

I decide everyday to make the difference in the lives of those around me by choosing happiness in its simplest way; love. The difference I want to make is to love whoever is around me. This is my effort to be happy. What is yours?