A thought on happiness

I try not to be worried during the occasions that I’m not happy. You see, happiness is an emotion and, like many emotions, it is very elusive. I cringe every time I see in a movie or read in a book or TED talk or people saying they just want to be happy or using happiness as the raison d’etre of virtually everything, decisions, in fact their entire life…this moment you’re happy, the next, not so much. And you can even confuse excitement with happiness and have everything muddled at a go.

One of the beauties of Islam is the fact that it acknowledges our emotions and natural inclinations but it encourages and commands us not to be defined by our elusive emotional states. The best of us are those who recognize those emotions and desires, control them and then channel or fulfill them in a wholesome, healthy way.

We have hedonistic groups confused about life going about defining themselves based on emotions and desires which leads to nothing but a life of chaos and emptiness. Alhamdulillah we, believers, know that we’re not defined by our feelings. We’re not defined by our looks. We’re not defined by our desires. Rather we’re defined by the content of our characters, our actions, and by the beliefs and values we hold dear.

So for example, you can be angry. Anger is an emotion. Most people think of it as a negative emotion whereas it is just an emotion. The inappropriate manifestation of anger is what can be negative and sinful. Anger can actually be a good catalyst. How so? When you see injustice, you feel anger boil inside you; therefore you rise to action to address the injustice, without anger many injustice will remain.

What about envy? You’re not a bad person if you catch yourself feeling envious. It is natural. But are you self aware enough to practice selftalk and redirect your emotions and actions? Take for example, that man is so brilliant and generous. I wish I can be like that. Therefore, I put in the effort, study hard, and when I become wealthy or gain power and status, I give back.

Jealousy. Love. Lust. Attraction. Sadness. Guilt. Happiness. Hate. Excitement…

We’ll feel all of these at one point or another.

You’re human. Embrace your humanness. Then become more than human. Become better. Be in control of your emotions. Don’t chase after emotions.

If you’re always seeking happiness, you’re seeking to compound something that can not be held, hence you’ll be chasing a high for the rest of your life.


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