The pursuit of happiness

I used the photo above because I believe that for us to find happiness — we need to keep ourselves grounded and not to step into anyone in the process of chasing our dreams.

Whenever I reflect on how my life had been, I always find myself confronted by the question, “Are you happy?”.

Presumably, my answer should be yes, for I have tons of reasons to be happy. There are lots of reasons for me to be — I have a decent and stable job, live comfortably far from home, and have a safe, healthy, and supportive family.

It may not be where I wanted to be, but it’s more than enough reason to be grateful.

I’ve been away from home for quite a while and have been utterly independent in the last two years — relying solely on my decisions and intuitions in life.

It’s fair to say that over the years, I’ve befriended life’s rhythmic dilemmas.

Life isn’t perfect, and it will never be — that’s a reality we couldn’t escape. As an optimist, I opted to see things from a positive perspective. But there are times when I am puzzled why happiness seems to be elusive.

In retrospect, I never aimed for impossible things in life. All I wanted is to work, earn money, live life, reward my parents, and plan my future. In hindsight, it’s there yet, partially out of reach. Using archery as a metaphor, it’s like hitting the target board but not the bullseye.

Adapting the logic furthermore, I start to question myself.
“Am I not practicing enough?”
“Is my form and stretch inaccurate?”
“Am I eyeing on the wrong board?”
“Am I not skilled enough?”
“Am I too ambitious?” or maybe,
“I never trusted myself enough?”

We can go on and on with these what-ifs and maybes, but I’m sure you got the idea.

What I realized is that we tend to blame our frustrations and discontentment on others — of course, it’s easier. But in the past months, I’ve contemplated that partially I am to blame.

I was lazy, afraid, distracted, and demotivated.

Yup, lazy me, procrastinating most of the time — spending most of my time watching online videos instead of practicing my craft.

I was afraid too, most of the time. I was scared of failing, even trying. Why? Maybe because I was too fixated on getting things right that I get frustrated by the jitters in between, ignoring the fact that it is part of the journey and the learning process.

I used to have too many distractions too — well, I still have but trying to resent. Whenever we feel disheartened, we tend to cling to fallacies — false realities that give us momentary happiness, temporal bliss.

These deceitful emotions are like drugs — addicting, euphoric until it wither. And before you knew it’s a hoax, it already consumed you, especially the time and effort you invested, all put to waste. And you’ll realize you’re back to zero.

Lastly, you’ll find yourself discourage and demotivated. We all live for the applause and praises — as shallow as it may sound, these propel us to move forward and strive harder. But not everyone will have the same visions as yours, and people need proof to believe.

Should it stop you from pursuing your goals? No, you don’t need hundreds of believers to turn your dreams into reality or to be the best version of yourself — you only need one, yourself. That’s enough reason for you to start, and whenever you feel discouraged, remember you can never make people believe if you keep doubting yourself.

As Sydney J. Harris suggests, “Happiness is a direction, not a place.” and I believe him. Why? Because I felt happy writing this piece, and it’s a direction I chose to pursue.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts about life. And remember that happiness begins with you, so pat yourself on the back and appreciate the greatness that lies within you.

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