Everyone is running after an upward curved smile, displaying happiness. Being happy is the ultimate goal of everyone around. ‘Be happy,’ ‘Why are you not happy?’ ‘What else than happiness are we living for?’ and many such pieces of advice are floating around in the air. Success gurus prompt you to leave everything for the attainment of happiness for yourself and your loved ones. But is being happy so essential?

This question – is it essential to be happy? – germinates from the thought that what other states of mind can we be in? Is the absence of happiness always unhappiness? Or to reverse it, does the absence of unhappiness means the existence of happiness? Why do we presume that if we are not in exuberance, we are in misery? If you are not in any trouble, then are you necessarily happy? You can look at this aspect from different angles. Just like we are not always angry, we cannot be consistently cheerful. As we are not perenially in despair, we are not supposed to be all the time enthused. This is true of happiness as well. Very often people with serious disposition are mistaken as sad. No, they are not. They too may be jubilant as well.

They may be at peace too. They don’t need to show it with a smile revealing their teeth. It may not suit everyone. Happiness is not necessarily attached to certain stereotypical displays of physical reactions. Some people, when angry, don’t shout, don’t quarrel – but go silent. Similar might be the way of expression for many people in case happiness. Epictetus said, ‘There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will,’ which also means that worrying about happiness is also not advisable!

We have given over importance to the word happiness in today’s life, perhaps because of the existence of stress in society. We have come to a conclusion that to remove stress, we need to make everyone happy. No, it is not possible. People become happy off and on, often, but they cannot always remain happy. When not happy, they might be simply calm, at peace, satisfied, resting or anything else which is not unhappy! We need to be okay when we have no reason to be happy as well as no reason to be unhappy. It is an absence of unhappiness that should be celebrated. Seeking happiness is like keeping multiple balls floating in the air at the same time, which is not required, always. They can be put in the drawer too. If you agree with this, you might also agree that it is not essential to be happy always. You may be in any or many other states of mind, which is not precisely happiness but also not sad or unhappy. Respect those emotions as well because they give different flavours of life, rather than making it monotonous.

Don’t miss new articles