What is happiness?
It is vague, but it is a super important theme for us human beings
Who wouldn’t want to be happy?
But, even if everyone wants to be happy, it is not always easy to be happy.
In fact, in the past, I had many difficulties, suffered from depression, and was in the depths of unhappiness.
I was not in financial trouble, and my body was healthy, but I was so mentally ill that I wanted to commit suicide every day.
There were many other difficulties in my life, and I experienced many mentally painful things.
And as I have struggled to get out of the pain and to be happy, one thing has recently become clear to me.
I feel that I have reached a truth about happiness.
My theory on happiness is that many people are already happy but they just don’t know it or don’t want to see it.
Therefore, I would like to write here about what that means and what happiness is, as if Van Gogh were to spray paint on a canvas with a thick brush.
I will be happy if this article can alleviate people’s sense of unhappiness, even if only a little.
Happiness is in your heart
Happiness is closer than you think, and the reason you are not happy is because you are looking too far away.
As I mentioned earlier, I was once in the depths of unhappiness.
I thought I was worthless and denied my entire existence.
I used to be the type of person who wanted to leave my mark on history, or achieve great success and gain wealth and fame.
I had a vision of becoming big and was active in music, but the reality was not so sweet and I could not become the person I had envisioned.
At that time, I could neither acquire wealth nor fame, and I was convinced that being ordinary had no value in my existence.
And although the situation was mentally quite hard for 3-4 years long due to a combination of various circumstances, my mental condition gradually improved and I began to have time to enjoy life.
Around that time, my beloved dog, which I had kept at my parents’ house, passed away.
He was like a brother to me and I loved him very much.
The day after I heard from my mother that my dog had passed away, I rushed back to my parents’ house.
On the way home, I saw elderly people dancing and welcoming travelers at a small station in my hometown.
At that moment, I had the following strong impression.
“These people may not be wealthy, but they look happier than those with money in the city. Wealth and fame have nothing to do with happiness! How I feel about my situation is the most important thing!“
In the past, I used to think that happiness was something that was far away.
I thought I was supposed to chase and chase happiness, and then grab the great happiness in the distance with my own hands.
But it was completely the opposite.
Happiness was not far away, but in fact, it was closest to me.
Happiness was in my heart.
Whether I am happy or not is determined by my heart, and wealth and fame are not prerequisites for happiness.
Like the elderly people I mentioned earlier, even if they are not wealthy, as long as they feel happy, they are happy.
After that, I went back to my parents’ house and looked at various photo albums with my family and my dog, and found that they were full of happiness.
My family was not wealthy, but the small scenes of daily life and every happy moment were captured in the albums, and as I cried, I strongly and strongly felt that happiness is not something special or something far away.
The album warmed my heart.
That was all the answer.
Happiness was in my heart.
What we take for granted = Happiness
The dog I had at my parents’ house was like a little brother to me, and I miss him terribly now that he does not greet me when I return home.
I am keenly aware of how much the normal daily life with him was important to me.
And it was only after I lost that normalcy that I truly realized it.
I was really happy when I was with him.
When you think about it, the things we take for granted are actually something to be extremely 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.
In other words, being taken for granted is actually a very blessed and happy state of being, and it is just that the person is not usually grateful because he or she is not aware of it.
But, if we can change our minds and become grateful for the everyday things we take for granted, I believe our lives will naturally change to a higher level of happiness.
It’s the ordinary, uneventful days that we take for granted that we are actually really, really, really thankful for.
The ordinary days when I was playing with my dog were really precious and irreplaceable for me.
I was completely unaware of that.
And now I am able to truly and deeply appreciate the things I take for granted around me.
I am much happier and more content with my life than before, and I am able to care for my family even more than before.
It’s not that I became rich, or that my dreams came true, or that I married a beautiful woman, or that I bought my own home.
Nothing has changed in my surroundings.
What has changed is my heart.
I think that people can be as unhappy as they want to be, or as happy as they want to be, just by changing the way they think.
Even if it is something trivial and ordinary, how you feel about it will make all the difference in your life.
And as I have said many times before, it is the things we take for granted that are truly important and truly appreciated.
Material happiness is fragile
Material happiness is fragile.
If you feel great happiness for wealth and fame, you will be unhappy when they are gone.
The fear of losing wealth and fame will also accompany you in life.
Things can disappear.
Rise and fall. There is no such thing as eternal prosperity.
Material happiness is fragile.
And there is no end to wanting too much.
The deeper the greed, the more difficult it becomes to be satisfied with one’s life.
Therefore, it is better to have a heart that can feel happiness even if you don’t have things, even if you are not wealthy.
If we have a heart that can appreciate the ordinary, everyday things that we take for granted, I think we can live our lives happily.
People could always be happy in every age
I think people are created to be happy in any situation.
If you ask me if people were unhappy 100 or 200 years ago, when they were not at all materially richer than they are now, I don’t think that is true.
In order for mankind to progress, we must feel a certain amount of happiness and fulfillment in the “now” and move forward in life, so even in times when society is neither convenient nor affluent, people are created to feel happiness.
I think that material wealth has always had little to do with it, and in every age, whether a person is happy or not has always been determined by his or her mind.
On the other hand, as far as whether people today are happy because of their material wealth, I cannot say “Yes” confidently as far as various data are concerned.
And if I ask whether people in 100 or 200 years from now, when mankind will be more convenient and richer than now, will be happier than now, I feel that it will probably not be that much different.
Happiness is not an addition but a subtraction
I believe that happiness is not to acquire a variety of things, but rather to live in the present moment, being aware of the happiness we have now, and appreciating the everyday things we take for granted.
And to be aware of the happiness you have now, you may have to face some difficulties.
For example, it is said that people who have had cancer and overcome it after a long and painful battle with it all say, “I am glad I got cancer.”
It is said that by getting cancer, they deeply realize the importance of life and how wonderful it is to live.
I also lost my dog, which made me realize from the bottom of my heart the happiness that is hidden in the everyday things we take for granted.
Happiness is not about getting what you want one after another, but something that you realize only after losing something.
In other words, I believe that the essence of happiness is not addition but subtraction.
When I moved from my parents’ home to Tokyo to start working, I experienced the hardship of having to prepare meals, do laundry, and clean the house by myself even after working, and I felt a strong sense of gratitude toward my parents.
Losing the presence of my parents, who were so close to me, made me overflow with gratitude toward them.
And ever since I moved to Tokyo, I have been sending gifts to my parents on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and their birthdays as an expression of my gratitude.
I think our family became happier only after losing the presence of family members who were close to us.
I think it is very important to live a happy life by being aware of the happiness we have now.
So far, I have written about my opinion of “happiness” with a touch of Van Gogh.
Of course, I am not saying that the pursuit of material wealth is absolutely evil.
The desire to be rich or famous is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you want to pursue it, go for it.
It is not only for your own sake, but also for the sake of those around you.
However, I have experienced a lot of hardship and a very poor heart by having such a desire, which is why I wrote this article.
I strongly believe now that happiness is not something splendid or special.
I think that in most cases, people who think they are not happy are not aware of the happiness that surrounds them now.
Instead, if you can deeply appreciate the small everyday happiness around you, such as a delicious meal, good weather, good health for another day, or contact with your mother, I believe you will be deeply satisfied with your life.
Also, happiness is not something that others can decide for you.
Not being rich, not being able to get married, not having arms or legs, etc., does not instantly make you unhappy.
Recently there was the Tokyo Paralympics, and people with various disabilities, both minor and major, were shining on the big stage.
It was really amazing!
They did not look unhappy at all, whether they had delayed intellectual development or lost a part of their body. Rather, when I saw the strength with which they faced the difficulties of competition and of having a disability, the happy expressions on their faces when they won, and the satisfied expressions of accomplishment when they lost, I was encouraged that happiness comes in different forms for each person and that people can shine so brightly despite various difficulties.
We can be happy even if we are not wealthy or in difficult circumstances, and whether or not we are happy depends on our own hearts.