It would be unusual these days to meet someone who has not been hooked on social media. As more and more people write blogs or rave about the best vacations they’ve had, or the best meals in town, many more people actually feel dissatisfied with what their own lives are like.
Lately, people have been defined by what is portrayed for others to see. Living simply these days seems to be something more difficult to reach. Just reading the front page of our dailies makes us all wonder why simplicity and modesty have both been forgotten by leaders who are supposed to live these out.
I guess it’s just that people often don’t realize that one’s life satisfaction entails a matter of perspective.
It has long been studied that people who are the happiest and most content often know how to make “downward comparisons,” always seeing grace and good fortune when they compare themselves to people who have less in life, or even those who have a host of trials to bear. In that act, one learns the virtues of humility and gentleness.
Embarking on the vicious process of “upward comparison” or comparing yourself to people who seem to have more money, more opportunities, more travels, will neither make one any more content nor happier. Ultimately, one’s well-being rests on one’s acceptance of life circumstances and the grace to accept what we’re blessed with.
At odd moments though, when I fall into the folly of thinking that others might have it better, I often remind myself never to turn the slightest green with envy. Even the bestseller titles like Rubin’s The Happiness Project or Lelord’s Hector and the Search for Happiness all point to one thing we need to heed.
Happiness is always relative, as it is with countless wealth or success. It’s ironic how we tend to believe that both wealth and success can bring true happiness. So too, I suppose we need to realize that there is a stark difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure being fleeting and material, whilst happiness is a state of acceptance and humility.
For most of us observing the Lenten season and this Holy Week, we are often reminded of how we ought do some soul-searching at this time. In the midst of busy lives, the time for some quiet reflection is actually difficult to come by.
As we are in the last final days before Easter, it seems apt to remind ourselves about what the real essentials in life we ought to keep or value most. Alas though, in a world where things are convenient and easy to buy off the shelf, it is easy to misconstrue that the things we think make us happy can be bought.
Hopefully, as Easter draws closer, I’ve nudged myself and others yet again about the essence of happiness, simplicity and humility.