Monday, 1 March, 2021

Search For Contentment In Modern Society


Anish Ghimire


People have all sorts of wants and desires. Maybe the most prominent one is money, power, or maybe happiness. If you ask people what their optimum choice for life is, they will probably reply with some predictable materialistic answer. I want money, or cars, or big houses with pools in them, etc.

Materialistic Desires
But rarely, very few of us say we want happiness. Because we believe, our materialistic desires will fulfil our joy. Earning plenty of money will bring me happiness, some of us might say. And it's not our fault. The complex system of modern society pushes us to obtain materialistic goals. Such goals, which seem immortal in happiness but after you achieve it, you realize you have been running after the wrong train. It is quite surprising that our ever-growing gravity towards the things we think will bring happiness is not giving us what we want.
Our tendency is such that we are never content with the moment as it is. The house we live in, the bike we ride, the phones we carry. We believe the next thing is the best thing or the other thing could have given me joy. So we run after the next thing, the other place, the other person, the other phone, etc. Only then do we realize that those desires only fulfil in short-term, giving instant joy, then slowly and painfully fading away.
So let me ask you if millionaires commit suicide, celebrities have depression, the guy with Mercedes Benz has anxiety, the girl with an iPhone 11 isn’t satisfied, the woman with the bag of Ralph Lauren feels constant sadness, the president doesn’t get a goodnight sleep, and a famous social media influencer is let down of online bullying. So, who is joyous here? Who is happy? I thought people who acquired cool stuff were always upbeat. But, I have painfully learned otherwise.
This brings me to another question- are you chasing happiness or are you avoiding discomfort? These two are completely different things. You avoid sadness by engaging in other mundane activities that offer you nothing in return. Undoubtedly, you distract yourself from sadness, and that does not mean you are happy.
Some of us have the habit of ignoring sadness, hoping that it goes away on its own. We distract ourselves from our tragedy by watching a movie, or playing games, or scrolling through social media. You look around and see everyone yelling at you, and pushing you, “resting is never an option”, “get a degree, earn money”, “be competitive, speak up, and interact” and you start panicking a lot more.
The world is constantly running and shouting and feeling down feels like stepping behind. This makes our condition worse. We are not treated according to our situation. We, especially teenagers, are expected to be perfect, energetic, and laborious all the time. The pressure on us is immense. And, in this madness, we lose our ability to find joy in ourselves. That is when, we start to scavenge outside looking for joy, alienated from the reality that happiness is created and not found.
In these complex modern times, it is vital to relax and observe ourselves. What am I running after? Money or self-contentment? Power or peace? Ask yourself, what is it that you want? And believe me when I say this, the many products of the Neo social system will never provide you with the long-lasting contentment you are looking for.
It is never there nor anywhere. It is within you. Actually, it is also a matter of choice. Some people are not happy, but they chose to be happy with what they're given. Why do we see sometimes the homeless family smiling and the rich guy frowning? Because they chose to be that way. They are responsible for their condition.

Laughing With Joy
People living in huts along the highway can laugh and enjoy each other’s company by sharing a packet of noodles, and a rich person can cry in their million-dollar mansion by wiping their face with expensive scented tissue paper. Why? Because the poor family chooses to be happy, and feel content in each other’s company. The person who came third can jump with joy, and the person who came second can only stress why they could not obtain the first position. It comes from within, and it is a choice. A quite important choice, to be fair.
It is what we choose to make of it. So ask yourself again, what do you prefer in running after? Happiness or mansions? Satisfaction or show off? Passion or ordinary work? Do not run after the wrong train. Find your ticket and get going.
And remember, the journey will not be perfect, it will be quite messy, but you will be thankful that you made it to the destination. And your destination is not perfectionism or happiness, but it is satisfaction and contentment.

(Ghimire is a university student ) 

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