I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately hanging out on the dating site, OKCupid. I started doing it in the hope of meeting other asexual people, and maybe – possibly – finding my way into a new relationship, although the relationship part has definitely taken a back seat now. I’ve decided to stop looking for a relationship, and just take life as it comes.
The most fascinating part of the site is people’s answers to the personality questions, of which I would guess there are several thousand in total. (The most enthusiastic answerer I’ve found is close to 3,000.) But more than that, the really fascinating thing is when people explain the reasons for their answers.
What saddens me is that so many people answering the questions don’t consider themselves happy, or believe their happiness (or otherwise) is outside of their control. In this modern, industrial world, where even the poorest of us (at least in the west) has so much, people are still unhappy. Are the cars and computers and gadgets (the iphones and ipads and ipods, and all other things beginning with ‘i’) and the convenience and ease of modern life really not enough to ensure happiness? Does the acquisition of more stuff really not do it for us?
What about other people, then? Do your friends make you happy? Your family?
Maybe your job makes you happy. Or, if not the job itself, maybe success, climbing the corporate ladder, and all that kind of stuff?
If the majority of people say they’re not happy, and yet we have so much more in every way than the generations who came before us, maybe we’re going about it the wrong way. Maybe instead of looking to the world around us to make us happy, perhaps it’s time to look inside ourselves and make the decision to be happy.
It took me a long time to learn this one.
Happiness is not an accident; it’s a choice.
Instead of waiting for something to happen that will make us happy, we need to make the decision to be happy, right here and now, with what we have. If you keep looking to outside sources for your happiness, you’re going to keep on being disappointed. No-one can make you happy. Happiness doesn’t depend on having a partner, children, friends, whatever. Happiness doesn’t depend on having a good job, being well paid, and having loads of stuff.
Happiness depends on your attitude.
You can either choose to be happy today, with your life as it is, or you can choose to be miserable. Being happy as a poor person doesn’t mean you have to give up on dreams of being rich. Being happy single doesn’t mean giving up on the search for the love of your life. Being happy doesn’t even mean going round with a bit smile on your face all the time, and telling everyone how wonderful your life is. Life isn’t always wonderful, and we all have our ups and downs, but real happiness doesn’t care about that. Real happiness comes from inside. (For me, it comes from understanding myself, accepting myself, and being myself.)
Being happy is as simple as deciding you are.