Today I would like to talk about our “Perception of Happiness” – happiness within ourselves and people perception of our happiness. In this social media saturated world, it is sometime difficult to distinguish between genuine happiness or society perception of happiness within ourselves. Let me explain myself.
I recently seen a documentary called “The Long Way Round”. It is an old footage (2004) that documented Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman motorbike trip circumnavigating our planet on motorbikes. The trip started off in their native United Kingdom. They saddled their bikes in London and headed east as per the map shown below.
The first few days of the trip were quite boring from a viewer point of view. Riding through countries like France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany etc. was very uneventful. It was boring to watch. The society that they encountered mirrored all other society behaviours in all the other 1st world countries. Boring. However, the more East they travelled the more interesting it became, at least for me anyway. Society began to change. Landscape changed. No more Calvin Klein clothing. No more iPhones. The life began to feel a lot more basic a lot more simple the more east they travelled. However, there was one noticeable difference – the smiles, laughter and happiness were more and more apparent with every person they met on the road. My absolute favourite episode is of them spending a night with the locals in a rural part of Mongolia. They decided to experience the local life to its fullest. They ate sheep balls for dinner, slept in a tent and washed themselves in the local river in the morning. As they were leaving the locals were preparing to put in a hard day’s work on the land. The people in this small village worked on the land and lived off the land. They had smiles from ear to ear. Laughing and joking how these hard core western bikers struggled with their way of life. The people had nothing to give yet they made them feel welcome by feeding them and providing accommodation for the night. I was blown away by the attitude of the people in this village and then I began to think: The people probably never heard of an iPhone, Snapchat, Facebook, holidays abroad, etc. They are very happy and content with themselves. They have different life, different perception of the world and therefore a different perception of happiness. I think as human beings we constantly strive for happiness, Right? It made me wonder, are we happy with our hectic, social media lifestyle or are we just fooling ourselves? What is the definition of happiness? Is anybody truly happy? Is there such thing as happiness? All of these questions were rattling in my head for days. I was stumped. However, one day it hit me. I got the answer (or at least I got the answer that makes sense to me). Here is my opinion on happiness:
“There is no template for happiness. Each one of us perceive happiness in a different way. Society, friends, family, etc. can contribute to our journey to happiness but only we can find our happiness.”
That was a mouthful. I know. However, let me use myself as an example. I am not a huge fan of going out on the town drinking, dancing, go crazy a little like a lot of people my age are (Blog on my opinion on drinking culture in Ireland coming soon). I much rather spend Friday & Saturday nights chilling with my girlfriend or spend hour updating my excel financial log or write a blog. From an outsider looking at me staying in playing around with “excel” (yes I said playing) seems quite boring when compared to someone who goes out on the town, goes crazy and uploads 143 photos of them on Facebook the following day. However, this is completely false. To me staying in messing around, planning and updating my financial log is bliss. I am in my element on such nights. I may be even more happy than the guy jumping around the dance floor recording an “epic” Snapchat video. (I will get into my views into social media another time.) This is just one example that I chose to use. What I am trying to say is that each and everyone of us have our own idea of happiness. Some like hiking, some like clubbing, some like playing sports, some like gym, etc. etc. It seems (to me at least) we are perceived as boring or unhappy if we don’t follow the society way of life – going partying, going on holidays, buying the latest gadget, having a good car etc. Believe it or not but in this crazy thing we call life we have our own path to happiness. We all control what makes us happy and just because your friend likes going drinking, doesn’t mean you have to. Just because your friend enjoys going to cinema every week doesn’t mean you have to. Do what makes you happy and only YOU know what makes you happy. Society and those around you can contribute but only you can find it.
I hope I have explained myself accurately in this blog. It is something that I am getting grips with myself and constantly have to remind myself that I need to do what makes me truly happy and it does not have to be what perhaps my society or may family/friends think is cool or enjoyable. We all perceive happiness in a different way and that the beauty of it. Please feel free to discuss, comment, share your ideas and your opinions on this topic. I am not trying to come across as someone who has everything figured out. I don’t. I have much to learn and perhaps your different ideas, views or opinion on topic of happiness might help me or other readers to redefine their stance on what makes them happy for the better. I just wanted to share one of the thoughts that I think about regularly.
Thanks for reading everyone, the above is not a fact it’s just a vadThought.