“And so it turned out that only a life similar to the life of those around us, merging with it without a ripple, is genuine life, and that an unshared happiness is not happiness …,” he noted, “HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED.” – Into the Wild, by John Krakauer
This passage in the book “Into To The Wild” inspired me to write a short reflection on happiness.
Many philosophers and scientists have struggled throughout the times to define the word. For some, it is an emotional state that can’t really be captured in words. For others, it is simply the result of complex interactions in the brain. Happiness is an important asset in life, one that may even define the quality of life. Some consider it to give meaning to life and to be a reason to exist.
But what is happiness all about?
A person who wins the lottery may certainly feel happy for a while before the excitement dissolves and it all gets back to normal. Same when we hear great news or achieve something unique in life. The feeling of happiness in those cases is only temporary.
In my view, real happiness cannot be the product of single life events– it must come as a continuum.
I’ve learned that one way to approach that is to constantly make an effort to savor the little, simple moments in life, whether spending time with family, listening to a melody, enjoying a meal, or simply reading a book.
Another way is to always be grateful. Constantly striving for more may be rewarding in the near term but will ultimately result in unhappiness. What I find helps is to celebrate the small victories whenever possible and not forget about them.
The third way to happiness is to be relentlessly optimistic. By that I mean genuine optimism, not the blind one. In the face of things out of reach, being optimistic is the best recipe against unnecessary worry.
Finally, and in accordance with the inspiring passage in the book, I believe happiness can only be complete when shared with family and friends.