“May this Diwali brighten up you and your family and may all be blessed with happiness”
This is how we usually offer our heartful greetings to others offering them happiness but what do we understand by happiness?
Often, I have heard people say- “My goal is to be happy in life”. Happiness cannot be a goal but is a feeling, an experience of joy and satisfaction in the NOW.
If I have the mindset that I can only be happy when I have completed my education, settled in a career, got married, have children..the list is endless. Essentially we are postponing our joy in the present phase of life. Would it be fair for us that we wait for a specific time, milestone, achievement, situation to be happy?
We can ask for all the signs and moments for happiness but we also need to remind ourselves that we need to create those moments, not wait for the perfect moments to be happy.
I once was traveling in a rickshaw on Diwali to give sweets to my relatives. I saw immense happiness and enthusiasm in the driver which made me ask him what makes him so happy? He replied to me, “I am happy because I will spend this Diwali with my family”
As Harvard happiness expert, Daniel Gilbert explains: “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are just ways of getting more family and friends.”
It is rightly said that we feel happier when we are with our loved ones but what if when we are not with them?
There was a time, I was all alone in my flat, was unable to travel down to my hometown to my family. I felt lonely, as I could see people enjoying, celebrating, shopping together for Diwali.
I missed my family, wishing I could have been there with them. I was upset thinking about what could have happened if I was there with my loved ones, and, I knew it is not happening this Diwali.
I called my mother. We had a video call and I was low, – She said -“Festivals are not to be upset but to be happy” and listening to this line which actually made sense to me that the purpose of festivals is to be happy and to celebrate the happiness and not to sit and keep reminding myself the reasons of me being upset.
I pushed myself to cook a nice meal, invited my acquaintances, some from work and a few from my accommodation, who were not able to go to their hometown. We dressed up, decorated the house with flowers, lights, and candles, played games with them, had sweets and finally sat over my terrace and saw fireworks all around the sky. It turned out to be a pretty amazing Diwali.
Sitting over the terrace gazing at the stars and fireworks made me realize- I was upset thinking about what cannot be changed, whereas I was happier doing things that were in my control.
We often are stuck in our unhelpful thoughts and we forget to take actions that can create joy. Let’s say I would have not dressed up, cooked, shared the festival with people around me, I would not get the opportunity to have a different kind of Diwali with a different set of people. Doing what is possible at the moment made me happier.
That day taught me that happiness is about focus. It is about being present in the moment, grateful for all that I do have right now.
This Diwali I encourage of al us to not overthink but overcome our unhelpful thoughts.
We wish all our readers – A” HAPPY” Diwali.