"You're not happy. You only think you're happy because you feel happy." – Lily, How I Met Your Mother.
I was watching How I Met Your Mother, one of my favorite American situation comedy series, when I found that very line. It was said by Lily, one of the main casts, to Barney, another main cast. In that episode, Barney was falling in love with a woman named Robin, but they chose not to define their relationship. Lily, who were friends with both Barney and Robin, thought that they had to talk about it, while both Barney and Robin didn't think that talking was necessary. Long story short, Lily didn't think that the uncoupled couple was happy, so she yelled out the line. Barney answered it with a question, "And that's not happy?" Frankly, that is also my question. If it isn't considered as happy then what is happy? How we define happy? How we define happiness?
Happiness is an abstract noun. Not only is it literally untouchable and invisible, but it's also undefined. Or in contrast, it's multi-defined. When it comes to what happiness means, we can ask hundreds of people to get hundreds of confused faces and mumbled words, or we can ask thousands of people to get thousands of different answers. But then, despite the fact that happiness is a sort of hard-to-be-defined word, it turns out that Dictionary.com has described it the best: "hap•pi•ness [hap-ee-nis] –noun 1. the quality or state of being happy." Brava, online dictionary! Happiness is that simple.
We may get some confused faces and mumbled words when we ask what happiness is, and it's simply because happiness is a state of being happy. We are just being happy, what else to describe? Happiness occurs when we know that we are happy; we feel happy. Happiness is what makes us feel happy when we're supposed to be unhappy.
We may also get various answers when we ask what happiness is, and it's simply because happiness is a state of being happy that each person bears in their own mind. Thus, obviously, nobody can feel exactly what we feel but ourselves. That's why my happiness is different from yours. That's why I can't judge your happiness, and you can't also judge mine. If Lily thinks that being in a complicated relationship is sort of unhappiness, she may be right because that's what she feels. But then, she can't say that Barney is unhappy because she can't exactly feel Barney.
Combining the undefined and the multi-defined version of happiness, we can say that happiness is a matter of perspective; happiness is a state of mind. It may seem to come out of nowhere, but actually it can be both something that comes as a response to an event and something that we ourselves create. If my mother comes to me and hand me a gift, I will feel happy. That happiness just comes out to me and hangs on my mind. I will probably be disappointed when I find out that the gift isn't what I really want, but if I can see it from any different perspective, I can still be happy. That happiness is what I create for my own good from a thing called being positive. That’s why my happiness is probably not your happiness, and that's why it is also hard to define. It quite explains the inexplicable, doesn't it?
Happiness is a state of mind; it's my state of mind and your state of mind. It's too broad to explain yet too narrow. Some random Lily may come to us and say, "You're not happy. You only think you're happy because you feel happy." Instead of asking ourselves what happiness is, we’d better reply, "Now that's what I call 'being happy'!"
P.s. I wrote this years ago, back when I was in college for my journalism class' assignment. I just feel like posting it here now.
Monday, March 3, 2014
First of all, I turned 25 last week. Yep, I'm 25 now and I know it's such a big number. I've been thinking lately of what I have been done in my life and what life has done to me. 25 years of ups and downs, and I'm still standing here; still and strong. If it's not something to be grateful for, then what is it?
Break a leg,
Second of all, I finally came to this topic, something that many people have experienced (and thought about, and discussed about), something that many movies, many songs, many books tell about: "letting go and moving on". Letting go and moving on are two different things, clearly. I personally think that one is followed by the other. You have to build a bridge first so you can get over it. No reverse order. Simply put, you have to let go first in order to move on.
For me, letting go is more like realizing that some things are out of our control. Some things may not be the same anymore and there is nothing we can do about that. Some things may not be good for us and there's no point of holding on. Some things are NOT for us, and we'd better not try to act like they are. Some things are lessons learned, and what we can do about that is, of course, learning. And it leads to the move on thing. We realize that time won't stop ticking and we won't stop either. So we leave the past where it should be: behind us. And we keep moving on.
I know, I'm also annoyed by those who keeps telling us to let go and move on with our lives. It's not that easy. You can't build a bridge in one day, can you? But we have to make sure that we are actually building that bridge. Are we building that bridge? Or we just think it's hard without even trying to get up and do something about that? Sometimes we just don't do anything about it. We let ourselves sink in despair. And just as miserable as that is, some people try hard to move on without letting go. I want to tell them one truth: quoting all those "moving on" sayings and posting them on social media over and over again simply states how miserable they are. The past is like a lake full of crocodiles. Yes please, swim away, and let those crocodiles eat you up.
Don't get me wrong now. I only say that because I know how it feels to be stuck in the past. Yes, both refusing to let go and trying to move on instantly. I've learned that letting go and moving on is part of a process, and sometimes it is a life time process. Sometimes the bridge is not perfectly built, and as we cross it, we should fix some parts of it over and over again. But don't you worry:
I've learned the hard way.
My boyfriend and I finally found each other (back again, and it's such a very long story), right after both of us had finally decided to let go of the past; the things we had been dealing with for a very long time. In this case, crappy relationships (some may not that "crappy" tho, but still..) We learned so much from the past, but we had decided to not live in there anymore. I used to think that I will be on a permanent hiatus in the love department, but no, I am not. I'm so grateful that we both met and now here we are with the most precious gift the universe can give: us being together. Something better? So much better.
I also used to be stuck in something as a result of my wild ego and pride. I won't tell specifically what it was, but let's say, for my pride's sake I used to keep doing something, some work I didn't feel like doing. I used to live a living hell. And the moment I finally decided to let go of that thing, was the moment of victory. I did give up on many things because of that, I thought I had lost many things, but then life got me so much more. That, and happiness, as a bonus.
There are so much life will give us when we finally let go and move on. I put my faith on that, but if you're not really sure about this, there's a more logical explanation to it. Probably, the better things simply have been here for a very long time. They have been laid upon our table for that long. We just can't see it just yet, or worse, we refuse to see it. We focus on things we cannot change and keep pretending that we can. Love life, careers, school life.. sometimes we are where we don't belong and we are stuck in there, when in fact we think we are stuck. When actually what we have to do is to move this ass,
build a bridge,
and get over it...