One said: I will be happy when I complete my studies. Another said: I will be happy when I get married. The third said: I will be happy when I get a new job. And the fourth said: I will be happy when I succeed in my project. Like this, everyone has his/her endless wishes…
But will this really bring happiness to us?
No doubt, the accomplishment of desires certainly makes a man happy. But happiness, in its real sense, is different. A commercial advertisement may make us happy as it helps us earn money, spend time with women, or buy a pack of cigarettes! But these are not enough to quench the thirst of our souls and hearts.
Happiness is a skill that can be learned and developed by ourselves. It is not too far from us, but instead, it is there next to us or simply put, within us. Our strained efforts cater for our happiness. In another way, it is just one of the muscles we have which can be strengthened by our efforts, and thus we become happier.
In this essay, I am going to explain six ways of strengthening our muscles of happiness.
Never be haunted by thoughts and memories of the past. It can be tragic like a terrible childhood, poor family background, painful ailments, failure in elections, financial loss, divorce or breakdown in family life. You have to address them like it was an experience that taught you new lessons of life, and of which you will make use of in future. Instead of being the prisoner of the past, be willing to enjoy the present. Utilizing the experience, plan your future!
Choose friends who are positive and optimistic. Don’t let yourself be over-influenced by them. As the saying goes “A friend is the one who pulls you towards him/her and a person is upon the religion of his friend.”
We should understand well that the past is not our future. It is our choice and responsibility which make our future full of happiness. We should learn to deal with our obsessiveness when our mind inclines toward negative thoughts. As Allah warns, Satan is the “one who threatens you with poverty and bids you to perform unseemingly.”…”Allah promises you His forgiveness and gratuities. And Allah cares for all and He knows all things.”
You can see in the above verses that Satan is linked with pessimistic thoughts and is the cause of misery, whereas, Allah guarantees forgiveness which leads to optimism, hope and happiness. So, keep away from Satan and abide by your Creator.
Be ready to forgive those who have wronged you. Forgiveness and tolerance strengthen our muscles of happiness.
That’s why scientific research has proved that tolerant people are the happiest and live longer in the world. Moreover, their reward with Allah is great.
Be less idealistic and more realistic! The less idealistic you are in your work, the happier you will be in life. Then you can address and deal with many of the actions and dilemmas with a contented and satisfied mind. Nothing keeps you from being idealistic in your manner but lesser is better.
Use your sense of humour when you are disturbed by others’ talks. Don’t enter into every single issue, be it silly or important, without thinking twice and also practice ignoring silly matters.
Try to have such an optimistic mind as Haroon Al-Rasheed had. Whenever he saw a rainy cloud in the sky, he would say to it, “Go and shower wherever you wish! Your tax will come (paid) to me”. It was the practice of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) to change the names of his Companions having negative meanings. A woman’s name meant ‘sinner’ and he changed it to Jameela (beautiful). A man’s name meant ‘hateful’ and the Prophet (PBUH) renamed him by a name which meant ‘ beloved’. Another man whose name was ‘haram’ which meant ‘forbidden’ was advised to adopt the name ‘Halal’ meaning ‘permissible’. It has been said “Every man has a share in his name”.
When the Prophet(PBUH) and his Companion Abu Bakr (RA) were in the cave, abandoned, the words of the Prophet to his Companion were, ““Abu Bakr, what do you think of two people with whom Allah is the third?””. This approach was from a new perspective and different from that of Abu Bakr (RA).
All these ways are useful to strengthen the muscles of happiness and positivity.
If you feel disappointed for any reason, strengthen your muscles of happiness by presenting your problems to Allah and accepting the fate destined by Him. Focus on your happiness in life by loving those around you – family, friends, lovers etc. Above all, you will feel the love of God. If so, you will be happy even when you miss your beloved or fail in your business or reverse your goals in life or do not get married or are deprived of having children.
With your permission, let me say that: Don’t expect happiness from anyone, nor should you feel that someone will make you happy. Rather, happiness comes from your own decision and you alone are responsible for your happiness. Your chance to start your journey of happiness begins today. So be optimistic, not pessimistic; be victorious, not a loser; be tolerant, not spiteful .