Why Is Our Definition Of Happiness Dependent On What Everyone Else Thinks?


Are we really happy ourselves? Or everything is all but a pointless effort? Our happiness is (often) related to things, to people, to someone else’s actions. Our happiness — or lack thereof — becomes something that is dependent on how and why a certain someone behaves with us. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a significant other. It can be anyone who matters to you: your best friend, you sister, your mom, or even that guy you have been crushing on for so long. Or even the guy at the department store. Anyone. Everyone.

We have been so dependent on others for our share of happiness that we can’t handle it when disappointment strikes. I know humans can’t live in isolation and that interaction is vital. But so too is you yourself being the reason for your own happiness. And by that I mean, doing what you love. We have been reading it in books, quotes by famous authors, in every other article on the internet. Your source of happiness has to be you. It has to belong to you.

I also know that sometimes the one thing that gives us immense happiness is spending time with someone who means so much to us. But then there is the disappointment factor. There is no escape to it. You walk a road; you are going to be disappointed by a number of things. But these disappointments needn’t stop you from being happy.

Recently, a good friend of mine almost broke up with his girlfriend. So I got to asking him how he was and how things were working out for him. To my surprise, he said something I wasn’t expecting: he was “confusingly happy.” I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that. I mean, what is that one thing that can confuse you about happiness? Then I was told.

“The people.”

Why is it that we are so bothered by what the other person is doing even if it doesn’t affect us at all? Why are we so consumed by the idea of judging someone, even passively for that matter? And it doesn’t even end at that. We eventually become the victims of this practice too. If we don’t like it that someone else is judging us for whatever it is that we are doing, then even we should respect their choices and keep our butts out of their business. This way everyone is happy with what they are doing. Such a simple solution.

There are so many times when we think twice before leaving the house late at night. We think twice before wearing that dress we bought from Forever 21. We think twice before applying a simple red lipstick because society claims it is slutty. We think twice before wearing shorts on a regular day — is this length enough; are my thighs conveniently covered; I hope no one stares too much. We think twice before wearing tracks to just go buy bread from the bakery —  I hope that cute guy living across the hall doesn’t see me this way. We think twice before ordering our favorite drink at the café because “this one article on the internet told me what type of a person I am if I order this drink. WTF will the barista think of me?”

We think twice before doing simple, everyday things that are supposed to be normal. But they aren’t.

We think twice because we are not sure if we shouldn’t.

We should get over with relating our source of happiness and satisfaction to whatever the person sitting ten benches away from me is going to think. I mean, I don’t even fucking know that person! If I like shorts, I will wear them. I don’t care if you think my thighs are fat. If I loved that dress I bought from Forever 21, I will wear it. If I like red lipstick, I will apply the shit out of it. If I like tea, I will place an order for five cups of tea and you will have to see me gulp down all of that blissfully! And you can’t do anything about it.

You know why?

Because that is what I like to do. And I don’t care if that pisses you off. And nor should you.

featured image – Justin De La Ornellas