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by chembarathi 3 months ago in happiness

As a skill

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A year ago if somebody has told me that happiness is a skill that everyone needs to master, I would have laughed at their face. But so much has changed within me over a year. Now I know that happiness does not fully depend on the job that I covet, or the money it offers, or a mansion that I can build or a partner or Instagram photos from the exotic vacations. Happiness, for me, now depends on the here and now. I have never thought or even aspired that I could ever be content with life. It is something that I thought the ascetics only can do and I am just a mere human who hardly has any control over her emotions.

Pandemic has made us all different persons. Now we know how little is in our control. All the material possessions provide a cushion when everything goes awry, but nothing more than that. I used to think that if I get x job with y amount of salary, I am going to be happy forever. As someone who has done more than a fair share of job-hopping, now I know that I can get used to any of such jobs real quick. Then the mind wanders to the next big thing. Hedonistic adaptation will never let us sit in peace with the victorious state of mind for more than a few weeks, months if you are lucky and not more than that. If we are to depend on such things for being happy, the chase is never going to end.

On the other hand, happiness that comes from within by being content with the little things I have is the most tranquil state I have ever experienced. The roadmap to that place is not clearly defined anywhere. It was a stack of good habits that made me find that place. Like every self help guru out there, I can also go on and on about journaling, meditation, practising gratitude, the importance of physical activity etc. But the point is nobody can help us find that place if we are not willing to set out for the journey. I have wallowed enough in misery and I understand that it is not easy to break away from that self-made prison. But I believe there is a point in everyone's life when we just know that the life we are living is no longer aligned with the person we want to be. For me, it was a state in which I was ready to break up with my old self even if it meant soul-wrenching pain.

Even when I was having this state of mind, I was attributing this happiness to the presence of my 7-month-old nephew in my life. It took me a little over a month after his departure to understand that his presence added a layer of happiness, but the contentment I am feeling right now is coming from within. "To live far from men, not to need them, but yet to love them " is a whole new level of realization for me. This helped me stop being hard on myself for loving or caring for people who no longer served any purpose in my life. In a world where we associate everything with the value that it adds to our lives, loving without needing them felt powerful to me.

It is difficult to understand that happiness doesn't necessarily mean the absence of sorrow. For me, it has been a place where I can converse with my past hurt comfortably. Instead of resisting the sadness, I have learned to sit with it and let it wash over me like huge, crashing waves. Also, it is a place of acceptance knowing that some things will haunt us forever and that's just the way life is.

I believe that the real test will come when life throws new tantrums at me. I cannot say that I will maintain this equanimity in all circumstances. But now I am here, I can sit with my sadness with a cup of my favourite tea instead of numbing out pain with the help of alcohol or sleeping pills, I can give a wide smile at the new sprouts in my garden, I can laugh with my friends and family over the occasional video calls, I can have those rare days when I feel happy to have a job even though I hate it sometimes, I can get the workout done even when all I want to do is curl up under the blanket and be miserable, and I can have the blissful state of getting lost in books even though I am not able to read as much as I want. For now, that's enough! And having enough is a strong statement.



In search of the stories I cannot hold in my heart.

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