“I wish to be happy”. A phrase my friend said to me the other day and a declarative I read often. Happiness – a short-term state of mind; a fairy-tale vision of rose-tinted glasses radiating beauty throughout our journeys. To wake up everyday feeling joyful; it sounds like a dream. Especially for me, with deep analysis pumping my blood and beating my heart, dripping through wonder. Doesn’t seeking fulfilment seem better?
The fleeting state of happy
Back in 2012, the Huffington Post published a piece on seeking fulfilment over happiness, summarising the latter as “fleeting, temporary and elusive.” Fulfilment on the contrary, stays with us beyond holiday sunsets and extraordinary kisses. Seeking fulfilment becomes possible regardless of what life brings whereas the concept of living happy sets us to fail. It’s impossible – what constitutes the true meaning? Is happiness possible when hunger kicks in and stress burdens? Can you compare the enjoyment of getting engaged to the bliss of reading a good book?
Over an Ibizan sunset, I realised I had no idea when I last felt happy. I tried to picture a content time in my life where island paradise coated endless days. Nothing. A piano couldn’t create my song; I’d need drums, trumpets and an infusion of chaotic tempo over silent strings. I’m too sensitive, too in touch with delicate emotions to comprehend permeant elation. I use to look at friends and inquisitively inspect how they wilfully lighted up. What’s it like to always feel good, like the sun unable to get cold?
People try to aim for that. We think about gratitude and meditating; appreciating the small touches in life. Blog posts always discuss gratefulness and thankfulness. A friend said to me years ago, don’t aim too high or place too much expectation. I thought, isn’t that a fearful way to live? To box yourself in to realistic chance? I want to dream above reality and dip my toes towards sensational horizons. Maybe failed expectancy is the ticket dreamers must buy in exchange for glorious imaginings.
Seeking fulfilment by ignoring society
At the end of last year, Jennifer Aniston featured in Harper’s Bazaar explaining why her ‘failed’ marriages were successful and why she doesn’t feel a void despite society parading marriage and kids as fundamental. By placing this old-fashioned notion upon her, she said “you’re diminishing everything I have succeeded at, and that I have built and created“. A blog post of mine: The One Thing You Should Do Before You Reach 30, shared my perpetual frustration at generic guides making people feel unsuccessful.
Wouldn’t the world appear dull if everyone achieved the same thing at the same time? Why waste the petite lives we have by summarising ourselves against someone else’s achievements? At 17, I planned my future after college by naively presuming I’d be ready for commitment mid-20’s. 17-year-old me, cannot grasp my achievements today. I’m not caged in to “normal”, stereotyped ideas anymore. Only I understand the difficulty I surpassed to get paid as a writer and balance healthy living. To feel sad about what I haven’t got, mocks the strength and triumphs I’ve won.
Consider what seeking fulfilment means to you. Maybe it’s wealth and a loving family, a worldwide adventure or great friends to laugh with. Society has scripted much of what we believe. To truly comprehend, we have to strip away societal fears such as living alone past 50. My beloved Guru Ashta Ashram once asked me why I crave a partner. Love’s an amazing sensation – yet I didn’t wish for love itself. I begged for one love to provide me with comfort and whimsical notions of romance I conjured round him. My longing for him hid my darkest despair of nobody loving me. At times, not myself.
Finding the answers
I think hobbies, events and health grant us satisfaction we can’t always source through work and relationships. Stretching our bodies to try numerous things. My blog bountifully heaps praise towards me, as does poetry and deep conversations over a glass of wine or a long walk. These nuggets fulfil me often. Happiness – the overwhelming passion, laugh till I’m crying moments, I live for them too. But I understand, they’re fleeting and not as magical when forced.
I’m not a bubbly, sun is shining hooray person. I thought I ought to be. I tried to, and I lived projecting a false image. My fear and anxiety remain an ongoing battle, yet my deep puzzlement of highs and lows, make me the writer and poet I am today. I’d rather shed extra tears and not wish for everlasting happiness. Instead, I’ll continue seeking fulfilment and achieve more as a person. Romantically living c’est la vie.
How are you seeking fulfilment? And how do you define happiness?