Sometimes we conform to what does not make us happy : out of habit, out of indecision, out of fear. The heart oxidizes and the mind remains trapped behind the fences of the comfort zone. We may forget that being happy, in the end, is a very simple thing: what is complicated is to know what is the most important, the most nourishing and the most magical for us, then to know strive to achieve our goals.
As a popular saying goes, “it is so easy to be happy and so difficult to be simple…”. Few sentences contain such obvious truth. To understand it, you have to think about one thing for a moment. We have been educated, for the majority of us, in the idea that we have to achieve certain things to define ourselves, to reach a status, to be able to have adequate qualities and capacities for a specific purpose.
“ Happiness does not reside in possessions nor in gold: it dwells in the soul.”
We study and we get diplomas to have a job. We have a job to achieve a supposed well-being, we manage to own a whole series of resources and goods, we establish social and emotional relationships which, normally, should fill us with happiness. However, this formula is not always correct, the factors do not harmonize with the product.
So, maybe happiness is a lie? Absolutely not. The real deception is making us believe we can achieve it. For anyone who persists in seeking this state of grace will fail again and again. The pursuit of happiness never ends well, for a very simple reason: it is a condition. He does not seek himself, he creates himself. It is not found, it is worked. On the other hand, there is one more thing we cannot ignore: Strategies that are similar to each other do not work for everyone. Each of us must pursue this task in our own way.
From hygge to Lagom : the curious world of Nordic utopias
Since 2015, there is a word that we find in all bookstores: Hygge. The Danish miracle to be happy has been a staggering success, at least at the editorial level. He invites us to achieve this full and authentic well-being through the purest, most basic simplicity, which seeks to rule out any conflict of cohabitation with the people we love.
As curious as it may sound, the term Hygge today tends to disappear to make room for new concepts, complementary points of view and gathered in a whole new word: Lagom. The Scandinavians once again bring us another trend which, as always, is accompanied by pleasant photos that sum up a concept seeking to spread among instagramers. “Lagom” has been retweeted thousands of times over the past month and Vogue magazines, Elle and even the Ikea company have taken on the task of popularizing the term.
Lagom can be translated as “fair measure”. This term invites us, for example, to surround ourselves with basic and essential things, to buy only what is strictly necessary, to pay attention to the environment, to decorate our house in an elementary way, to eat only what we need, without excess. Finally, he also reminds us that work should never take hold of our lives. As we can see, the idea that “to have less means to have more” is repeated. Happiness, according to this same scheme, resides in simplicity.
Although all of these messages are extremely positive and heartwarming, we cannot forget that there is a whole “marketing” side behind these trends. Nordic fever, with its excellent detective stories, its remarkable lifestyle or well-being society, continues to attract us, there is no doubt about it.
However, there is also a part of bitter utopia. This is what the brilliant and controversial essay The Almost Perfect People by British writer Michael Booth explains . In this book, he seeks to offer us a realistic view of the apparent Nordic happiness, something we could already guess from Henning Mankell’s books.
One of the things that most catches our attention is the fact that the Nordic countries, which are apparently the happiest in the world, also have the highest suicide rate. Apparently, something is wrong …
Compose your own recipe to be happy
All of those books that tell us about how we can achieve happiness are always interesting and commendable. They offer us new perspectives, make us understand things we may not have perceived, invite us to reflect and, no doubt, to make some changes. Despite everything, we must tell ourselves that these are not instruction manuals or Bibles, that they do not work for everyone because, quite simply, we sometimes live very different realities.
Happiness does not depend on external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
It does not make sense to tell us that work should not take over our lives if, for example, we are unemployed. Neither can we “live on the bare minimum” when what we have is already basic. Through all of this, we want to insist on one point: happiness is built to our measure, it must be at our size and harmonize with our particular realities.
Such a thing requires effort, willpower and understanding that being happy can be very simple, there is no doubt about it, but the most complicated is to know perfectly our priorities, priorities which can be completely opposite. to those of others … And that takes courage, not an Instagram photo where a woman is reading a good book, with big socks on her feet and a coffee sitting next to her.
Sometimes, to be happy, you have to leave everything and then start all over again. Other times, you have to go through a long inner work, a work that allows to heal wounds, to resolve frustrations and to find new motivations. We must be able to simplify what is difficult, but also to compose our own recipe to be happy.
Images of Ottokim