Chris Gardner (Will Smith) wonders why Thomas Jefferson listed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the inalienable rights in the US Declaration of Independence, in stead of just life, liberty and happiness. He soon finds out that his own life is all about pursuing happiness. Thereby, Chris, a really smart man but pretty naive, tries to convince the woman in charge of his son’s day care, that there really is no ‘y’ in the word ‘happiness’.
I say there neither is a ‘why’ in happiness. When you ask people why they are happy, most of them will answer they are happily married, happy because of their job, their friends, their boy/girlfriend, their education or a combination of these things. As little children, we were uncounsiously taught what involves happiness and how to reach it. As grown-ups, we still pursuit this image of how to be happy, though we more and more realise this picture of idealistic happiness is nothing more than an illusion and way beyond our reach.
Therefore, never ask why someone is happy. It is like love: you can feel it, but you have to show it as well. Happiness is just around the corner of your inner home and beside you everywhere you go: you can nearly always see it, feel it, but never touch it, hold it. It is unevenly distributed in your life; some days you feel so abandonned, miserable and stupid you daren’t move otherwise you’ll hurt yourself, and other days your heart is so full of gladness, joy and love of all kinds that you have to give yourself a rest or whole the world will know you feel the happiness.
The only thing you could ask yourself is why you are not happy. For this, there are so many bigger and smaller reasons I could probably write a book about it and then I have only described 1%. I think reason number one is: you are expecting happiness to be related to something you’ve been taught years ago, and you find out it is different. Did misconceptions fool you? Did something or someone not meet your demands? Did something or someone use another image of happiness? A vision you weren’t able to share? Or perhaps a vision that gave you the creeps, made you feel like choking or just made you feel miserable everytime you thought about that thing or person being in your life?
The worst scenario occurs when you know you’re not feeling happy (or happy enough according to your childhood’s images), but a person, company or educational institution does feel happy about you. Because they think you’re a nice, lovely person, a trust-worthy, hard-working collegue or a promising student. These are points in your life at which you are desperately looking for happiness around the corner of your inner home and checking beside you whether happiness is pacing along. And when you are finally convinced happiness is nowhere to be found in that particular situation, you have to decide to either break-up, quit your job or change school.
Once you made your decision, you probably feel relieved, free and/or happy. You may feel sorry for the one you dumped or left, but in a world with six billion people, your uniqueness is of a little less value than your own happiness. You just have to remember those moments you felt happy, and write them down (like I do) or find some way to remind a happy you when you are feeling down. I did last night, and today it seems I am fully recovered and have I worked enthusiastic on my homework. And while it outside is pounding with rain, I think of all the happy moments of the past few weeks, and the happy moments that are about to come in the near future.
You shouldn’t wonder why you’re happy: when you’re happy you enjoy every minute of it and you try to keep that feeling in mind. It does not matter how much we enjoy happiness at the very moment, it will come and go and come again: you’ll be fine forever as soon as you realise you’ll always be in the pursuit of happiness.