Lola’s POV: What Really Defines Happiness?

I’ve often overheard conversations amongst my peers, family members, and coworkers about happiness

Photo: Courtesy of Lola Montilla

Photo: Courtesy of Lola Montilla

I’ve often overheard conversations amongst my peers, family members, and coworkers about happiness. Some talk about how after they began a relationship, they became happy, while some people talk about how they’d be happier if they had something they don’t. But really, what defines happiness? Who determines what will make you happy, and how content this or that will make you? Beyond being happy or not, what determines that fine line between happiness and fulfillment?

Before my surgery, I thought that happiness was entirely superficial. If I had a fantastic body I’d be incredibly happy; if I had all the money in the world to travel, I’d be satisfied. I became so amazingly caught up in the things that were only temporary and the things that would not bring me inner peace, self-love, or fulfillment. At a certain point in time, that was my mindset. Fast forward a year or two; almost by accident, I dove into a pool of gratefulness and into how imperative it was for me to be thankful. Once I began to delve into gratitude, I became happier. I didn’t find my happiness in a bikini body, in the latest accessories or the newest makeup trend: I found it in the experiment of becoming aware of everyday things to be grateful for.

I started noticing all the things I was holding onto that didn’t make me truly happy. I let go of people that were dragging me down, and that honestly made no difference whether they were in my life, or not. I started filling my schedule with things that were valuable to me and things that would potentially move me forward in life. I find so many people fill voids with things that don’t matter. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t invest in material things. I’m saying we can’t let our happiness depend on things that will only be temporary.

Is it measurable? Can you measure happiness? I find it incredibly hard to believe that something can make you more, or less happy, there are some things in life that you can’t measure. No scale shows how much we can love, or how much we can hate; there’s also no measurement of how much pain one can feel. Some things fulfill you, and you might feel satisfied, but you will also have bad days as well, and when you get sad and angry, the fleeting things that made you feel happy or “complete” at some point will no longer be enough. When you find full happiness, or should I say fulfillment, you’ll see that those things will only be additions to your lifestyle; enhancements, adornments, and extras. Listen to your heart once in a while, it will point you in the right direction, and soon enough you will see that moments, not “things” will be sufficient enough to make you say “I’m happy.”

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