I don’t know what your definition of happiness is. I don’t know his nor hers. I’m not even sure what it means to me either. Growing up my mom defined happiness as a feeling of satisfaction. Whenever you were satisfied either with food or your present life or your grades or your parents or the way you appeared or your friends or your spouse then you were happy. All my life until now I have always benchmarked happiness to my mother’s teachings on the same. Any time I’ve had a feeling of satisfaction deep within my soul then I’ve always considered myself happy.
Over the years however, this definition has been corrupted. Watching too many soap operas, reality shows, living around a society that defines happiness differently, I must confess has been very confusing. These days we say happiness comes from having more and more and more. Not necessarily yourself possessing all that, could be your partner; “sponsor”. If my satisfaction before was to have just Kshs.20million as my net worth, these days I gotta go above and beyond to be happy or rather so people see me as happy. Happiness has been defined by how lavish one lives, how much they spend, how glamorous their lifestyle is, how many Ferraris they own, how many condominiums they can rent out, how many vacations they have in a year and where and how expensive. Rich people are branded happy while the poor are considered sufferers. Ask someone; “heri ulie kwenye Range rover ama ucheke kwenye bodaboda? Ukose usingizi runda au ulale vema kijijini?” (Would you rather cry in a range rover or smile on a bike? Lack sleep at Runda or sleep well in the village?) They’d not choose the latter, at least not most of them. Because we’ve been living on the deception that links riches to happiness until it seems to be gospel truth. People would rather financial stability before what makes them truly happy, they’d rather an arduous job that they barely like as long as it pays more than go after their passion even if it pays way less, they’d rather battle with traffic and expenses in the city and make thousands than live on dimes where everything else is at reach in the village.
In a bid to fit in, most of us have found ourselves living completely misconstrued lives. By other people’s comprehension and not our own. Feeling out of place if we decided to live by what our parents and grandparents taught us, religiously. Not allowing ourselves to be different because it is accompanied by a fear that we won’t be happy being ourselves and not being over the top.
But would anyone be blamed for thinking this way? For believing this? Society has bent us. By now now we’re way out of shape. Hardly recognizable in our distorted forms and beliefs. A comfortable life that would bring about satisfaction is achieved by dint of money. A lot of it. Spoil yourself. Take selfies and post them on social media. Let those who don’t have as much squirm and feel belittled.
Whatever it is, always go by your own definition. Happiness is a basic need.