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Happiness Begins When We Stop Judging Ourselves

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We have one life, a beautiful life, and it’s full of colours, sounds, and a whole lot of expressions, emotions, and feelings that define us as who we are, as a species. The human being, as we often believe, is the most beautiful, yet complex, creation in the universe, and it is gifted with an equally marvellous, yet complex, mind that makes [almost] everything possible, given the right circumstances. It is said that the human machine is the most complex and the most accurate ever possible and nothing can ever surpass its perfection.

However, even the best have their worst times, and so it’s true for human beings. In the busy world of today, many of us are getting ahead further and further in our careers and professions, and making much more than we sometimes need, but in some scattered moments, it does seem as though the walls are closing in on us. There are megacities where people live in boxes and internet hubs, and there are people who share the same spot with the dead in a graveyard.

But what’s most intriguing about the human mind is its ability to remain inspired and driven, sometimes even in the direst of circumstances. Of course, the definition of ‘dire’ differs from person to person, but that’s not the point here. Instead, it is the sheer resilience to keep alive the human spirit. In a movie that I had watched long ago, the protagonist, in a job interview, places the Vietnam war above man landing on the moon in terms of event significance. What’s indeed striking about the war is the plain human courage displayed by ordinary Vietnamese people – well, they truly weren’t ordinary after all. So, what gives us the zeal to continue even after we trip, and how do we stay motivated and, above all, happy? 

At this point, let’s go back to the sentence that opened this piece. Yes, we have but one life – and it’s ours to treasure, love, and live. We were created unique and, though we differ in our capacities, skills, and potential, we need to remember our uniqueness. It is quite difficult to not look at a highly successful TV personality and feel low, but we need to remember that we know nothing of what they survived and how. So, in the same circumstances, we may or may not last as long. So, while we can simply nod our heads and say to ourselves: ‘Yeah, she’s worth it,’ we also need to remember: ‘We are worthy, as well, of living a good life and being happy.’

It doesn’t need much to be happy – I realised it of late. Just say to yourself: ‘I’m gooood,’ [put some swagger in it], treat yourself to good food, play your guitar, go cycling in the woods, chase butterflies, pet an animal, or just lie around in the sun. Happiness begins when we stop judging ourselves and allow ourselves space to falter – but love ourselves right back, saying: ‘It’s OK, I’m here for you.’

Abhijit Chakraborty is a senior content editor at upGrad, a digital education organisation in India. He is also a mental health advocate.


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