Let unhappiness be your elixir!

Unhappiness has always been the most feared of all the feelings. Man has been striving so hard to achieve the penultimate goal of being always happy that he seems to have forgotten that both happiness and unhappiness are a part of the same game. Can happiness ever be defined without having to know what distress really feels like?

Misery has always been perceived as a character flaw. We are in such an earnest quest for a life which is nothing but eternal bliss that anything short of this description is declared as gloomy. All other respectable pursuits are so only because they are said to lead to happiness. Even sugar finds legitimacy in the civilized world because it is associated with happiness. But contrary to the popular notion, the aim shouldn’t be to eliminate unhappiness but to learn to live in harmony with it. Elimination doesn’t work, and more importantly, doses of unhappiness are needed for true happiness to be appreciated. Living in harmony with our shortcomings and moments of distress will make the good ones worth the wait.

If we take a look around, all we’ll witness is discontent which now seems to be an epidemic. You rarely come across faces beaming with a smile. The reason behind such wide despondence is our high expectations from life. Were we ever promised a life that was picture perfect? Then why do we yearn for it? With so much happening around us, we need to be tolerant to circumstances which are taking their own time to agree with us.

Robert Downey Jr., one of the most bankable and highly paid actors in show business, made an incredible comeback. His alcohol and drug addiction had landed him in prison and tagged him as unreliable. But this dark phase didn’t kill the actor inside him. He quit drugs for good in 2003 and now credits his sobriety for the phenomenal career momentum he has enjoyed over the past few years.

To have a happy life we need not wipe away all the unpleasantness. We have to learn to live with it. To have a balanced state of mind during testing moments can give you immense peace and the motivation to handle it. Remember, acceptance is the key. We have to accept that things can get diverted from our plan of action, result can be dissatisfactory, a loved one can fall sick, a relationship can fall apart, and we can be deceived. When we make peace with situations which are beyond our control, we change our perspective towards life. Stop seeing the world through coloured spectacles. Life doesn’t come in a customized package. We need to create one for ourselves with its share of joys and sorrows.

Every day when we get up, we look forward to a fruitful day, full of good news. But the moment we hit a dead end, all our energy goes down the drain and we lose our shine. This is a common scenario in every millennial’s life. Now let’s change this picture a bit- every day we get up and thank God for all he has provided us with and start the day with a grit to fight every challenge we come across, no matter how big. Such a feeling will make it easy for every moment to be handled and we will never be left disappointed.

Most of the self-help books flooding the market are teaching you how to be happy, how to be successful, how to ward of unhappiness. But it is also said that some kind of negative emotions and darkness in your life is imperative to ignite your passion. Most of the stalwarts in various fields have had to pass through rough patches. And somewhere later in life they have thanked those dark moments for bringing out the best in them. Oprah Winfrey, the American media mogul, too had had her share of troubles and abuse. Belonging to a broken and impoverished family, her problems were compounded by repeated sexual abuse, starting at age nine, by men that others in her family trusted. But this came out to be a blessing in disguise, because her father became vigilant and guided her to restructure her life through stringent rules and books. And with her zealous efforts she was able to break the glass ceiling and come out as a winner.

Steve Jobs, a name that is synonymous with ‘Apple’, was initially ousted from the company for being excessively critical and a perfectionist. This was devastating for him. He stated – ‘what had been the focus of my entire adult life, was gone.’ For him it was an incredible personal failure. But later, with his perseverance and optimism, he returned to apple, learning the importance of tempering his obsession with control and empowering his talented employees to bring out the best in them. Apple returned to the spotlight, and the rest is history.

Such experiences of immensely successfully people should always be kept in mind while giving some valuable advice to our kid. We should always emphasize on making them understand that both success and failures have to be considered equally important, for they end up teaching us some of life’s most valuable lessons. If our children will be taught to make peace with all kinds of situation, no matter how good or bad, we would be doing them a favor. Such an attitude towards life will enable them to accept situations and learn to derive happiness out of them rather than running behind the mirage.

Happiness can be defined by each individual in his own way, depending on his expectation and situation. Whatever you are, this is your personal journey. Your achievements and failures have been a result of your actions and the circumstances you are surrounded with. Your colleague might make it big sooner than you would, but you never know what all he has endured in this journey. When an unfavourable situation fails to suck the light out of you, life becomes easy to handle and small achievements seem magnanimous. If you expect a good life to make you happy then you are chasing an illusion — because you are never ever going to be consistent with your own definition of “good life”. While we are running around for ephemeral moments to cheer us up, we are demeaning the importance of the unhappy moments that bring us closer to cherishing our good times, however trivial they are.

So let unhappiness and failure be your mate, the ones which teach you that life can take any turn, anytime. When these experiences are made a part and parcel of your life, misery loses its ability to shake you. You are able to lead your life sans any hallucinations and are happy in any situation.