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I talk to a lot of folks going through depression and suicidal tendencies. One thing that’s common among them is that they don’t feel important anymore in life. They feel like there is no purpose in life. Generally, they aren’t happy. Let’s think about that for a minute.

What is happiness?

Gurus and pastors define it in many ways. Some say it’s the state of mind, some say it’s all about realizing God and what not?

I quite honestly, haven’t figured out what this is all about. I’m not a “God fearing” person neither am I religious. I’m agnostic. I can’t really tell if there is a person sitting in a throne among white clouds, watching over you. That’s just made up story to help people find a way. I understand it, but don’t subscribe to it.

How about just keep it real. As in, ask yourself what makes you happy? Is it money? Is it love? Is it sex? Is it job? Family? Car?

I’m pretty damn sure that all these things above will make you happy. I mean, we’re all humans. We need these things to be happy or not. W crave them. So once we get them, we’re happy. Or so it feels.

Now, here’s the thing. Notice, I said.. we crave them. Hold on to that thought for a second.

What do you think will make a hungry kid happy? Food. Not pizza. Not tacos. Just something to eat. Isn’t it?

Now, what would make a millionaire happy? More money. He’d love to be a billionaire, and hence.. money.

What about you?

If you were a soldier, you’d love a vacation. If you were a house-wife, you’d love a break. If you were a college pass out? A job.

So you see what I’m saying. Happiness means different things to different people. But what decides your happiness is what you long for. Who you are. What your priorities in life are.

Just as a meal would make a hungry kid happy, only a billion dollars can make a millionaire happy. It’s not what is outside that matters, right?

It could be lot of money, lot of love or just a meal. These are all “solvable” things. Rob a bank or work harder and you might get your billion dollars. Try a little harder, you might get your meal.

But what then?

Do you think a hungry kid who just had his/her meal will be happy forever? 100% not. It’s human nature that now we’d want our next big thing.

Had a meal, you’ll need something to drink. Had your billion dollars, you’ll need a Rolls Royce. Had your vacation? You’ll long for the next one.

So, what’s common in all of this is you. Your thoughts and your longing for “things”. “Things” can be bought. And depending on who much you want it, you’ll be happy, momentarily. The moment you achieve it, you’ll need more. There, goes your happiness.

You need to understand that happiness is dependent completely on your wants and needs. If you can regulate/control your needs, you can control your happiness. At least, logically, right?

For example, if I decide that I just need to make enough money to get by, then once I reach that limit, I’m happy. I don’t want anything more.

But deciding that you don’t need more is easier said than done. This is when society influences you. You look at somebody else and seem them driving a fancier car. Now you want it. There goes your happiness.

So, I don’t think you should control your happiness or your needs. Provided you don’t hurt anyone or do something bad, try harder, do more, work more and get more of what you want. That’s OK. I don’t understand when gurus ask to control your needs and wants. You can pretend but you are just going to battle with yourself trying to hold on to your limits.

Instead, dream big, aspire more, but work hard. And see what you can achieve. We’re all amazing human beings that there is no dearth of opportunities or limit to what we can achieve.

Now, what’s more important is that you got to know, that not all things you aspire for can be achieved. Certain things you have to let go. And remain content with what you could achieve. This is powerful.

Being content with what you have and at the same time aspiring for more is an amazing state to be in. When people go in to depression mode, what typically happens is that they are heavily inclined to the “what I don’t have” side. Which is ok, but you also have to think about what you can do.

This is where you have to use references other than people ahead of you. For example, if you aspired for a job abroad and couldn’t achieve one, it is ok to be depressed. But don’t let the depression take over you. It should only be a momentary thing.

When you hear a joke for the first time, you enjoy it. Second time, not so much. Third time, you are bored.

So, why think over the same sad thing over and over again? Why get gloomy over depression? Use your depression to fuel your dreams further ahead. Let that disappointment of yours sink down. Now, move ahead to your next goal. Don’t get stuck there. That’s where most people lose interest and make the mistake of not moving forward.

Happiness is not in “things”. They sure can give you happiness but it is only temporary. There’s only so much you can achieve with “things”. But if you learn to keep aspiring and at the same time be content with your achievements, you will be seasoned enough to understand what happiness is and how to achieve it. Importantly how not to get disturbed.

Hope it made sense.