Full disclosure: occasionally, I struggle with bouts of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. And so, I will be the first to admit that my negative perception of (my) life at certain moments has been amplified and greatly exaggerated by these episodes of mental vulnerability and exhaustion. The truth is, for most of us, life isn’t easy. And sometimes, it’s scary. Its full of shitty moments and fucked up situations. The bad always seems to last forever, and the good doesn’t seem to last long enough. From the passing away of loved ones to working jobs we hate but cannot leave, life seems peppered with short moments of contentment interrupted by unavoidable stretches of disappointment and anguish. From enduring the agony of heartache or bad health to languishing in the dullness of unmet hopes and expectations, we lumbar through life hoping that, one day, that elusive thing called happiness will make a final and permanent appearance.
Have you ever asked a seemingly happy someone how they found happiness? One person will tell you that a positive attitude leads to positive experiences and outcomes in life. But deep down inside, you know that, although it might be true for them, for a lot of us, it’s not. Another will tell you that prayer and faith are the answer, but if you’re not religiously and spiritually inclined, this advice may not be applicable. Someone else will tell you it’s a combination of all the above, and another will tell you it’s none of it. Regardless, you make the same mistake I once made: attempting to approach life and find happiness the same exact way other people found theirs.
I once read that finding happiness depends on how you view your life and life in general. The day I started to approach life and define happiness by my own set of expectations and values, hopes and aspirations, rather than conform to what I was told they should be by family, education, religion, and society, I found contentment. And although contentment is not happiness, it’s a step closer to it. It allows me to appreciate where I am in life, even if my dreams are bigger. It’s what allows me to be thankful for the things and people I have, rather than gripe about the things and people I don’t. It’s what allows me to accept that, even though life can have fucked up moments, happiness is not as elusive as I once believed. So, I leave you with this question, how do you view (your) life, and what is happiness to you?
Sincerely, Kwapi Vengesayi
From Kwapi Vengesayi‘s book, Men Cheat More, Women Cheat Better: Stories and Conversations About Love, Life and Everything in Between (2017) Available on Amazon