Monday 19 April 2021
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The Illusion of Happiness

friends GettyImages-565706549-949x534The pursuit of happiness is why we get up every morning. We go to school to attain a qualification to get a well-paying job, that you may afford certain luxuries you deem necessary. Happiness is the state and or feeling and therefore is never static. Therefore it is said that happiness is momentary never perpetual. Money the supposed root of evil is said to buy moments of happiness based on what that money can afford. Money and happiness are used synonymously for the simple fact that money does buy you the means for happiness.

Happiness comes from authentic and real relationships
The rise of social media is causing relationships to become cold and shallow. Studies have shown the direct correlation between depression and lack of meaningful human relations. Life is fast paced and no one has the time to connect in meaningful ways. We live further away from each other which further strains our relationships. Though through social media platforms we have quick access to virtually anyone in real time, this can leave many feeling empty. For us to be truly known and truly loved is where happiness is found.

Happiness comes from enjoying the moments
As a traveller the greatest memories I have of happiness in a foreign city are the moments where I observe citizens doing the mundane. Even in Windhoek I am conscious daily to be present and alive in that one moment and not let the haste of life, meetings and deadlines rob me from being truly alive. This can be a daunting task. It requires that we do not get jaded by life. It calls us to be full of wonder at every turn. To remain wide eyed and mystified. Always expectant of good.

Happiness comes from reaching your goals
When you set life goals and have clear measurable milestones, the sense of accomplishment brings happiness. Early in the year it is the norm to set bold and sometimes outlandish goals and we get demotivated when we do not reach them. We do not take into account the surrounding issues that can put pressure on you. A strong decision can jump start your decision but the without an enabling environment we cannot sustain it. Our innate need to win keeps us striving to be better and to do better.

Happiness comes from feeling good about yourself
There is a saying “when you look good, you feel good”. I beg to differ with that sentiment or rather rephrase it and say “when you feel good, you look good”. Our actions and behaviour is primarily driven by our feelings, emotions, thoughts and attitudes. The internal mechanisms inform our outward performance. When you can honestly look into the mirror and say that you are enough nothing else can tell you otherwise. Do you like your own company, can you laugh at your big toe because it has personality? Appreciating the most amazing and the “less desirables” about ourselves brings an amazing sense of closure.

Happiness comes from having and creating opportunities
I needed to highlight this point. When we are not given the opportunities to grow, that can dishearten us. Structural and systemic oppressive frameworks need to be reviewed to give everyone an equal chance to succeed. Socio economic, gender and racial disparities can negatively impact our self-actualization. We cannot run away from our past or pretend it is not there nor can we say because a few made it out that the playing fields have been levelled. We however should strive to recognize and rise above this limitations and bring others along.

True happiness comes from a decision of choosing to be content at evert moment of your life
Finally after listing all of that is saying that happiness is truly contentment. The moment you are appreciative of what you have, even the little can change your whole attitude. One of the key reasons we are not happy is because we compare ourselves and are never satisfied with ourselves. Someone may say I will be happy the day I make x amount a month. However that amount will never be enough in light of the fact that there will always be someone with more than you. Honesty with self that you are not competing with anyone else can be liberating. Otherwise happiness is but an illusion, a mirage that only exists to tempt and entice us but never satisfy.

Steven Bernardus Harageib has more than 10 years’ experience in the non-profit sector. He hosts workshops and seminars, and provides ongoing one-to-one coaching for young leaders. He co-founded a non-profit organization in 2004, providing holistic support for learners who cannot afford tertiary education. In addition to his work with Lifeline/ChildLine Namibia, he provides continuous psycho-social support to diverse vulnerable groups. He has both participated and represented Namibia on several international platforms. He is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow.  He is a therapist by profession, an activist by passion and a traveller by design

Facebook:  Steven Bernardus Harageib
Twitter: @SBHroyal
Email: [email protected]

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