Sunday, 3 August 2008

The Secret of Happiness

I spend a lot of my ‘thinking’ time pondering the nature of happiness. In my opinion, happiness is the single best thing any of us could wish for and it comes above anything else. However I think many people would agree with that statement and when I think about happiness, my questions go much further.

I think it’s nigh on impossible to define exactly how to acquire happiness, if only because it would be so difficult for each of us, at least on a material level. If I were to receive these beautiful Giuseppe Zanotti mirror embellished ankle boots:

from a kind benefactor, I would be very happy indeed, whilst I can think of at least one person who would be much happier with some sort of spangly music converter storage iMac thingamajig. As you can probably tell, I wouldn’t know what to do with the thing. But I believe that both of us would be equally delighted that there’s someone out there who is thinking about how they could make us happy.

In some ways, it may be easier to define what makes us unhappy. Sometimes, thinking about how for many people the answer would be that love is what fulfils their happiness, I start to feel down; woe is me, nobody loves me and all those thoughts which I logically know to be completely untrue, but still manage to occasionally plague me. Secrets and lies too (no, not the film which absolutely makes me very happy) are things which I have grown to detest over the unfortunate events when I have had to deal with them. To me, one of the secrets of happiness is to have no secrets; they are unhealthy and thinking over them never fails to bring me down. But of course, I too have private details which I do not share, and I understand that it can sometimes be the truth which creates the most unhappiness. I don’t fail to recognise the hypocrisy.

It’s not just happiness in which I can find so many contradictions in what I believe; in one of my ‘rants’ which I wrote on my birthday (I seem to be writing quite a few of these and I do find it immensely therapeutic) I wrote about how I struggle to accept the concept of the laws of beauty yet still I abide by them. The central struggle I have with happiness, and unhappiness is understanding the point of them all. They are such simple emotions; other emotions can be so difficult to define as positive or negative, but happiness is simply positive and so unhappiness negative. Therefore happiness is good, it is the ‘single best thing any of us could wish for’ so why not just never be unhappy? When feeling a little blue, why not just realise that it's not going to help being in a sulk, put on a smile, because smiling releases endorphins, dontcha know, and… be happy? Well, I like to think that I am in such great control of my emotions, but part of me knows that I can’t be. So I can argue with myself that there is no point in unhappiness, that any reason I have to be unhappy is perfectly invalid and that really I have every reason to be happy. But I’m still aware that there is pain, there is shit, there is unhappiness. Maybe the best we can do is look for those small things which help us to be a little happier (for me it’s shopping, tea, films, writing it all down – for others it’s spangly music converter storage iMac thingamajigs) and enjoy them.


  1. I hope this doesn't sound trite. Here goes. Maybe you can't explain unhappiness, but perhaps you could look at it as a counterpoint to happiness, something to remind you how good you usually have it.

  2. Oh yes, I forgot that point. I decided that also.

    It's like the Christmas explanation 'if it was Xmas every day, it wouldn't be special'