Happiness From Within

Suppose you woke up one morning and realized you were the last person living on Earth. You can have all the food you’ve ever dreamed of, the richest house, the most expensive car, the life of your dreams, but you only have yourself to share it with. Would you be happy? Is happiness then still materialistic? Growing up, I thought that happiness meant getting a high paying job to be able to buy my way into living a happy life, but after realizing that the career path I wanted to follow was far out of my reach, I realized there was more to life than becoming a doctor. I understand that many still have the viewpoint that money can buy happiness since it’s difficult to say that money can’t when everyone reacts so positively when given an expensive gift. However, that happiness only lasts a certain amount of time. The goal in life is to experience infinite happiness. 

I’ve always thought about what I want to be in the future. My parents have never forced me to become anything specific, but for some reason I’ve always felt this expectation to become something “great.” I’ve considered all possibilities and combinations of different medical jobs like being a pediatrician, a nurse, a veterinarian, a pharmacist, etc. and for a while I was sure that these jobs would allow me to feel a sense of satisfaction. Somewhere along the line I realized that it would be a waste of my time to go after something I only wanted to do for the thought of being successful in life. It’s so easy to just say that you still have a couple years left and you’ll figure it out later, but time moves by quickly and will pass you before you know it. I’m only a sophomore, but even thinking about picking my classes for the next year stresses me out. During registration, I felt like everyone had their minds made up about their entire future, while I had no sense of direction. I’ve always been known as someone who does well in school, a straight A student, but the grades I gained this previous semester made me rethink a lot about what I wanted for myself. When people think about successful people they think about straight A students that get over 4.0 gpas and make it into Ivy Leagues, and by knowing that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this dream I deemed myself as “unsuccessful.” It stopped the motivation I had to be “great” and it got me questioning why I stressed myself out so much about grades, afraid that my “dream” career path would vanish, when a white coat and a stethoscope didn’t bring me any sense of joy.

It is often that people believe that having a well paying career is a direct path to happiness. Although I am sure that being financially stable would make a lot of people happier, it doesn’t directly bring one happiness. One’s happiness is a direct result of their own actions and expectations. People often say that reality never meets expectations, but who set up those expectations in the first place? If you expect a lot more than can be done, reality won’t be able to catch up and happiness won’t catch up with you either. There is a quote from Ralph Marston that states, “Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.” Eventually, there will be a time in our lives where we find that we only truly have ourselves to depend on. Our own thoughts and interpretations of the situations life throws at us is what brings happiness to us. 

Not only is happiness found in oneself, but it can also be found in those around you. Life doesn’t have to only involve finding happiness alone, since a majority of our lives are significantly better when we are surrounded by our loved ones. They are like the glue in our lives. Loved ones provide support we are lacking and bring us to the place where we feel like we can push ourselves the rest of the way. There’s the common phrase of “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you” that shows that a loved one’s actions can be the motivation we need to reach happiness. 

In our society, we are taught that status is worth everything and that prestige is materialistic. Status is found in the form of how rich you are and therefore having this status must make you the happiest man on earth. This brings up the question of why rich people aren’t happy when they seem to have everything. If happiness is materialistic, why does one who has all the material not instantly experiencing infinite happiness? Therefore, can you really only depend on money for your happiness? Happiness is not a perfectly positive slope. Life is a roller coaster that has its ups and downs and no one is ever truly happy all the time. After every rainstorm there is a rainbow, but only if you choose to take the time to look for it. I may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do understand now that I want to be able to experience happiness within. There are so many other occupations in this world that can make you happy, which can be deemed as successful as long as you view it that way. Humans work and go to school for a majority of their lives, so picking the right job is essential to a happy life. There will always be a large abundance of people that hate the career path they chose and will live with regret for the rest of their lives. Happiness is simply an outlook on life and without positivity there would be no chance at infinite happiness.

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