Countless movies have been released to chronicle man’s pursuit of happiness. In fact, one was even titled as such, though misspelled. Looking for happiness seems difficult, and the feeling feels elusive. But perhaps it’s not the emotion itself that is hard to nail down. Perhaps it’s the definition that needs to be examined.
Happiness in solitude
Introverts enjoy quiet solitude, and even extroverts would love a moment of peace after a day of socializing. It’s that time you get to be with yourself, to care for your needs, and to prepare for rest. You use your Korean sheet masks while you wind down for the night however you want. You can watch your favorite show or listen to a favorite podcast–whatever it is you do, it’s your own choice how you spend this part of the day. This in itself can already be the pocket of happiness you have for the day, knowing that you get to have this quiet moment before you close your eyes.
Happiness in a relationship
For too long, the media has perpetuated the notion that materialism is what makes people happy. When you’re in a relationship, there is also the expectation to always show off and flex online. In recent years, if you’re not showing proof of how much your partner pampers you or how generous they are in giving you gifts, your relationship will not seem like a happy and healthy one. Yet plenty of movies also show that at the end of the movie, it’s not really the flashy posts that matter. It’s you spending quality time with your significant other, even if that means just staying home curled up in front of the TV. This love-hate relationship with social media and consumerism is what makes happiness seem elusive when you’re in a relationship, because they have established standards for you to measure your relationship against.
Happiness with the family
When you’re single, it’s hard to attend family events, especially as a young adult. The people you call family, who are supposed to support you unconditionally, will either ask relentlessly why you’re not dating anyone yet, or judge harshly when you’re not meeting all their expectations. The truth is, the times they lived their young adult life are not the same times you’re living now, and them imposing their expectations on you should never be the norm. Sitting through family events where your singlehood is one of the favorite topics does not inspire happiness.
Fortunately, family can also be reshaped as you grow older, with you choosing your own family in the form of your closest friends. These are the people who will not judge you, and will understand what you feel about certain topics. Your family by blood can still be part of your life, of course, but if they don’t inspire happiness, turn to your support system instead.
Happiness does not come in one shape or size. It comes in the little details, and it comes in big boxes. Whatever form of happiness you experience at the moment, treasure it and aim to give someone else that same happiness back. This is how we make happiness the norm, not a myth.