A recent discussion with a friend on relationships being one of the strongest indicators of happiness opened my vista of thoughts on happiness derived from a meaningful relationship vis a vis the happiness that comes from within. The two may sound mutually exclusive but are congruent as well. It is very difficult to draw a line between happiness based on external and internal forces. While, the happy feeling is something internalized, it is the source we were discussing. When it has been proved that relationships, health and profession are the highest predictors of happiness respectively, does it mean we are dependent on them to feel happy? Why can’t we be happy regardless of what our circumstances are? The most ideal situation to be in – undeterred by all and remain happy. We create our own happiness. And that happiness can have a cascading effect on other areas of life. Unfortunately, a difficult proposition to be practised by many. Maybe, these qualities of zero dependence distinguish saints from us, ordinary human beings.
But man is a social animal – one of the elementary social science lessons we were taught. All human beings seek physical, social and emotional connection. The need to connect is inherent in one and all. One may try to defy this natural urge to attach – whether with one’s mother or a primary caregiver from birth, to siblings and friends at growing up years and through an alliance with one’s partner which one hopes would last for life. While the first one is almost impossible to defy, the remaining two become difficult if not impossible. So, when we seek contact with another human being, it is out of our need to connect. That connection gives us the joy to connect even further as it is not something momentary which would end with our needs fulfillment. It’s an ongoing process. Or else no relationship would ever last – intimate or even a close friendship. Attachment and connection with others is what drives us to happiness.
Coming back to our earlier observation of happiness resulting from within or a sound relationship can be based on the premise that when one is internally happy, one can generally be happy and relationships would be a part of it too. But at the same time, the happiness generated by a meaningful relationship can be second to none. It can influence and encourage one to keep going in life, no matter what the challenges. The passion, zeal or enthusiasm which it exudes can be phenomenal. It is not only the partner, but the platform that is created by a couple, the platform of love, trust, understanding and respect that lifts a couple’s confidence, self-esteem and mood. The feeling of security and assurance through someone being there is matchless. Here, the happiness comes from within but at the same time it is not self restricted.
Of course, making your partner the only source of your happiness is something I would never propagate. But one central association can rub on to other things in life. The zeal to pursue other interests and hobbies can reach great levels. The happiness generated through it can reveal new realms of passion to pursue one’s dreams. Happiness through love is like an elixir – experience it to believe it!!