I wonder what happiness is.
It’s a vague but super important theme for us.
Who wouldn’t want to be happy?
But even if you want to be happy, it is generally not easy to be happy.
In fact, I was also in the depths of unhappiness in the past, with various troubles and depression.
I was not financially troubled, and I was physically healthy, but I was so sick at heart that I wanted to kill myself every day.
There have been many other difficult things in my life, and I have experienced a lot of mental anguish.
And as I struggle, I have recently come to realize one thing.
In fact, I believe that a lot of people already have the conditions to be happy, they just don’t realize it or don’t try to see it.
I’ve learned a few things about happiness.
So, I’d like to write down some of my recent thoughts on “happiness” here, like Van Gogh spreading paint on a canvas with a thick brush.
Happiness is in the heart
I think that happiness is closer than you think, and the reason you are not happy is because you are looking too far away.
As I mentioned above, I used to be at the bottom of misery.
I thought that I was worthless and denied my entire existence.
I used to think, “I want to go down in history!” or “I want to be very successful and gain wealth and fame!”
And I was working to become a star, but the reality was not so sweet and I could not become the person I had imagined.
At that time, I thought that I was not worthy of existence, as I could not obtain wealth or fame.
And due to a combination of circumstances, I had a very hard time mentally for three or four years, but my mental state gradually improved and I began to have more time to enjoy life.
At such a time, on a recent trip to my parents’ house by train, I saw a scene of elderly people happily dancing and welcoming travelers at a small station in the countryside.
I thought intensely at that time.
“These people may not be wealthy, but they seem happier than the people with money in the city. Wealth and fame have nothing to do with happiness! How you feel about your situation is the most important thing!”
In the past, I used to think that happiness was something that was far away.
I was thinking it was something to chase and chase, and then grab the great happiness in the distance with my own hands.
But it was quite the opposite.
Happiness was not far away, but was actually closest to me.
Happiness was in my heart.
Whether I was happy or not was determined by my own mind, and wealth and fame were not prerequisites for happiness.
Like the elderly people mentioned above, even if you are not wealthy, as long as you feel happy, you are happy.
Afterwards, I arrived back at my parents’ house and was looking through various family albums, and there was so much happiness there.
Our family was not wealthy, but every little scene of our daily life, every happy moment was captured in the album, and I strongly realized again that happiness is not something big and far away.
Looking at the album warmed my heart.
That was all the answer.
Happiness was in my heart.
Usual things = Happiness
I recently lost my beloved dog that I had at my parents’ house.
He is like a brother to me and I miss him so much now that he doesn’t greet me when I come home.
I am keenly aware of how much the normal everyday life that he lived was precious to me.
And it was only when I lost those usual things that I realized it.
I realized that I was really happy when I was with him.
When we think about it, what we take for granted is actually something we are very grateful for.
When you catch a cold, start living alone, or lose the ability to walk, you will feel grateful for the things you used to take for granted and the things they used to do for you.
In other words, what we take for granted is actually a state of happiness that we are already in, it’s just that we are not aware of it or conscious of it.
I think that when we change the way our mind is and start appreciating the everyday things that we take for granted, our life will change to live with a higher level of happiness.
Despite the fact that nothing has changed around us.
People can be unhappy as much as they want or happy as much as they want just by changing the way their mind works.
In the end, the most important thing is how you feel about various things.
It’s hard to seek material happiness
Material happiness is fragile.
If you base your happiness on wealth and fame, you will be unhappy when those things are gone.
The fear of losing wealth and fame will always be with you.
Things can be lost.
There is no such thing as eternal prosperity.
Material happiness is fragile.
That’s why I think it’s better to be equipped with a mind that can feel happiness in any situation so that your life can be richer.
For example, I stopped looking for happiness in other people’s evaluations.
Of course, it feels good to be admired by others, and it is warm and comforting to get along with others.
But on the other hand, relationships are sometimes tricky and hard to deal with.
It’s exhausting to try to figure out what the other person is thinking.
You may find yourself in a situation where you are unable to assert yourself because you are concerned about what others think of you and fear that your relationships will be damaged.
I stopped doing that.
Because it’s hard.
Of course, I don’t actively destroy relationships, but I now interact with people on the premise that relationships are meant to be destroyed.
But by doing so, I feel that I am now able to live my life in my own way.
I feel happier in my life than ever before.
It’s hard to seek material happiness.
External circumstances change in many ways, and there are far more things that you can’t control.
There is no limit to how much you can ask for.
I want to keep my happiness within myself as much as possible.
People could be happy at any time
I think that humans, as living beings, are created to be happy in any situation.
I don’t think it’s true to say that people were unhappy 100 or 200 years ago when they were not materially richer than they are now.
In order for humanity to prosper, we need to move forward in life with a sense of happiness and fulfillment in the present to some extent, so I think we are created to feel a sense of happiness even in times that were not convenient or affluent.
For a long time, happiness has not had much to do with material wealth, and I think that at any given time, one’s own heart has determined whether one is happy or not.
On the other hand, if we look at the data, we can’t say “yes” to the question of whether modern people who have become materially rich are happy.
And I don’t think it will be much different in 100 or 200 years from now, when people will be more convenient and affluent than they are now.
We should live our lives by focusing on the “now” instead of only looking into the far distance.
Happiness is not an addition, but a subtraction
I think that the true happiness is not in acquiring various things, but in realizing the happiness that we have and living our lives carefully in the present moment.
And to be aware of the happiness we have now, we may have to face some difficulties.
For example, it is said that people who have been diagnosed with cancer and have overcome the disease after a long and painful struggle say that they are glad they had cancer.
They say that getting cancer makes them realize the importance of life and how wonderful it is to live.
Losing my beloved dog also made me realize the happiness that is hidden in our ordinary days.
Happiness is not about getting what you want one after another, but something you realize only when you lose something.
In other words, I think that the essence of happiness is not an addition but a subtraction.
When I moved from my parents’ home to Tokyo for work, I experienced the hardships of working, preparing meals, doing laundry, cleaning, etc., all by myself, which made me appreciate my parents intensely.
Losing the presence of my parents, who were so close to me, made me overflow with gratitude for them.
And all this time, I have been sending gifts to my parents on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and their birthdays to express my gratitude.
I think our family became happier only after losing them.
I think the level of happiness in your life depends on how you notice the happiness you have now.
So far, I’ve been scribbling my opinions about “happiness” with a touch of Van Gogh.
Of course, I’m not saying that the pursuit of material wealth is an absolute evil.
Desires like “I want to be rich! or “I want to be famous!” are nothing to be ashamed of, and if you want to pursue them, go ahead and pursue them.
Because it’s not only for your own good, but for the good of others as well.
But, I’ve had a lot of trouble with such desires, and I’ve learned a few things lately, so I wrote this article to show that there are opinions like this.
Once again, happiness is not something that other people can determine.
Not being rich, not being married, not having children, not having arms, does not make you instantly unhappy.
Recently, there was the Tokyo Paralympics, where people with various disabilities, both minor and major, shone brightly on the big stage.
It was really amazing!!
They didn’t seem to be unhappy at all, whether their intelligence was delayed, whether they had no arms or legs, and when I saw their strength in facing the difficulties of competition and disability, their happy expressions when they won, and their contented expressions when they lost, I was encouraged that happiness is different for everyone and that people can shine so brightly in spite of various difficulties.
I believe that we can be happy in any difficult situation, even if we are not wealthy, and whether we are happy or not is ultimately up to our own hearts.