Today, I have been discussing the happiness quotient. So many people have spoken for so many years about what makes a person happy. What brings happiness? There have been many opinions. Some people said money makes them happy, some people said possessions make them happy, and numerous people said numerous things. But the question is, is that happiness permanent? Does that expand your heart? Does that give you a kind of gratification that you feel fulfilment?
If happiness cannot give you fulfilment, it’s temporary. It’s a pleasure. There’s a difference between pleasure and happiness. Happiness is something that is perpetual, all the time, and more or less permanent in your life. Minor ups and downs are okay, but it’s reasonably permanent.
What actually makes us happy, or what makes us feel worthwhile in this world? What makes us feel there is life?
I would say relationships. Relationships are the most important thing, and especially in today’s time, when we sacrifice our health in pursuit of sensory pleasures, we sacrifice our health in search of future happiness. We think that happiness happens in the future when we earn a lot of money. Probably not. Happiness has to happen right now.
While we are living, we should be happy. Today, we are in the world of social media, the phones and the Internet, all those kinds of things, where we have swapped real relationships to that of virtual. The problem with the virtual is it is artificial. We feel there is a relationship – when people like your messages, you feel great. When people do not like your messages, you have a drop in dopamine.
Real vs unreal
Virtual is not real; it’s unreal. Real relationships are very important. So, for a real relationship to happen, we must understand it has to happen now. We cannot decide, or we cannot think happiness is in money or happiness is in material richness. We should understand that we have to invest properly, wisely to have great happiness. And there, you’ve got to invest in relationships. If you really want great relationships, you have to invest yourself, your time, your energy.
And the attitude of acceptance plays a big role there. If we criticise somebody, judge somebody, always analyse somebody, we fail to love that person. We must accept the weaknesses also along with strengths, and we accept a person as he is. That will help us to maintain a good relationship. Stop judging completely; accept a person; if somebody falls because of whatever reasons, it’s okay. Rise and falls are a part of life. We must not judge somebody because they’ve failed in certain things.
Failure and Success
Failure is a part of life; success is a part of life. We must accept everybody, including ourselves we can also fail, or we can be successful. Both are part of us. If we don’t understand that, if you don’t accept it as it is, we can’t maintain strong relationships. Real relationships are your real wealth, and that relationship can expand from human beings to beings of other species, to trees and plants and nature. We can have expanded relationships, fruitful relationships, meaningful relationships. And that’s your great wealth, real wealth.
Whatever you earn in terms of material success or material wealth may pass hands at some point in time, but the relationships that you build will stay because that will regenerate itself while you are at it. The more you invest in it, the more it grows, just like a small plant. When you are investing yourself in the nurturing of the plant, like a small sapling, your nurture it sufficiently in the right way so that it becomes a huge tree in the future. Relationships can be like that.
Quality of relationships
Quantity of relationships have no value here; it’s the quality of relationships. Quality directly depends on whether you are able to spend time with them, cultivate it and nurture it. If you are not able to spend time for it, if you are completely occupied with your social media and other things, which are all amounting to some kind of gratification, even though it’s virtual, but that’s not permanent. When you really want to have a feeling of oneness, togetherness, you should have a meaningful relationship that needs nurturing.
Real wealth is in relationships; social media and virtual relationships are all signs of deterioration. Selfish, personal gratifications through virtual media cannot give us permanent satisfaction; it’s temporary. It’s an addiction. Addictions cannot give you permanent satisfaction.
Invest in relationships
Investing in good relationships is very important and a good relationship, as I said earlier, is the right wealth. Quality relationships have to be nurtured. Try to nurture friendships, good relationships, avoid judging them, criticising them, comparing them, competing with them and make them your real strength. When you are down – if somebody hugs you and says, “I am with you”, it really brings you back to your original state.
You need to have friends whom you can hug and love and be with all the time. That’s the real wealth. Be aware of what’s your real wealth. Have great relationships in the world and help each other, support each other. Do not compete with each other, do not criticise, judge, do not be angry, do not have too many expectations either because expectations destroy relationships. Have very few expectations, investing more of yourself into a relationship rather than expecting them to do more for you.
What to avoid?
Some relationships are like parasites; avoid them. They do come when a flower blooms; it’s not just butterflies or honeybees coming to take its fragrance away. It’s moths and insects, they also come. In life, everything happens. You’ve got to stay away from toxic friendships, which are sucking your blood, sucking your energy away, and invest more in friendships, which are regenerative, positive. Also, they stand with you at your weakest times, and they walk with you at your weakest period. They are real friends, that’s exactly what we need in everyday life.
I leave you with these thoughts. Develop from here and nurture it and make a difference in your own life.
I wish you great success in life.
This is Mohanji for you.
Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt
Proofread by Rekha Murali