Happiness? What Does That Mean?


Sitting in silence with nothing but my thoughts, I can’t help but wonder why we live in a world divided.  We all share a common goal to be happy, so why do so many people face issues such as depression, low self-esteem and drug and alcohol addiction? What is wrong with the make up of our society that we are unable to maintain a constant state of happiness?

Our society places a lot of value on being number one. Throughout our education, both in the classroom and on the playground we are taught that being number one is the greatest honor. We take these teachings and translate them into how we manage our relationships with people. Many a times, when we hear stories of people’s accomplishments we find ourselves congratulating them, while simultaneously thinking of a personal or loved ones accomplishment that is superior to the story we were just told.  Why can’t we congratulate others on their successes and genuinely mean it?

A few years ago, I overheard my father tell a family member that I had gotten into a school program. He was extremely excited and wanted to share the news.  During his conversation with a family member he began telling her about my accomplishment. My father hadn’t even finished his sentence when the listener cut him off, only to tell him that her daughter had gotten into a medical program. Both pieces of news were great and should have been celebrated. However, due to the competitive nature of the conversation, both parties left it a bit saddened.

Our need to “one up” each other and competitive nature has led us down a path away from constant happiness.  If we want to be happy, we need to recondition our minds to genuinely be happy for each others successes, and help them where possible. When we stop wasting our brainpower on competing and start using it to help and encourage each other, we will naturally see an improvement in our levels of happiness.

As a society, we are only as strong as our weakest link. If our society is filled with thousands of people living with depression, self-esteem and addiction problems, and a hand full of “happy people”, how can we expect to move into the future and be happy as a society?

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