Happiness, happiness, happiness … A word spoken by everyone. A goal that everyone strives for. Happy moments, happy everyday life, happy marriage, happy relationships with friends and colleagues … all the things we strive to get and dream of from the heart. However, we often make the mistake of missing out on our happiness because we over-generalize our expectations of it, skipping and forgetting all those little moments and gestures that make us truly motivated and greatly affect our happiness in the long run without realizing it.
In the following lines, we will end our column, inspired by Seneca’s most impressive letters from his work Moral Letters to Lucilius, with the theme of happiness and letter 92. We choose this letter because the pursuit of our happiness must be the true meaning of our lives. This is the ultimate goal we pursue as we cultivate and develop our personality – to be truly happy.
As we have mentioned in all the articles on the subject, the main key that opens every new door to success – self-development, self-improvement, awareness, is a virtue. The same goes for the topic – happiness.
Everything in the external environment is acquired as a result of our body. Our body is formed as a result of our soul. If the soul is calm and happy, it affects our body, which in turn changes the world around us for the better. However, in order for our soul to be at peace, it must follow virtue. In short, the happiness we want to achieve in the various aspects of the world around us must first come from within, from our very souls. Or, as the letter says, ” As for the second desideratum, – quiet, – although it would indeed not of itself be of any benefit to the soul, yet it would relieve the soul of hindrances;”
Seneca not only compares happiness and virtue as two interconnected elements, each of which cannot exist without the other but also goes deeper and deeper into the relationship between them. The thoughts that are in your head; the actions you take in the various circumstances that life confronts you with; the honesty you show and everything else that can be summed up in the word – virtue – are the most important and only those who have them will be happy. Because he who possesses virtue deep in his soul cannot be unhappy. And when virtue achieves the effect of not being unhappy, then we can be not just happy, but blissful, because the path from happiness to bliss is much easier than the path you have to take between unhappiness and happiness. And bliss is the highest form of happiness.
It is time to get rid of the feeling of unhappiness that you feel even for the smallest things that do not satisfy you, because virtue is like the Sun, as Seneca says. No matter how much the clouds hide it, it is still in the same place and in its full form, but it shines less and less over the world. By the same logic, what stands in the way of virtue does not take anything away from it indeed. It doesn’t get that small, but it starts to shine less and less. All misfortunes, troubles, bad thoughts, and anger can affect our virtue, just like the clouds of the Sun – to kill the flame, the spark, the light, which illuminates our souls. And after the last ray of light of virtue disappears in our souls, happiness remains only a dream.
Happiness is hidden in our attitudes towards everything in the world around us. If, for example, a person with a physical disability does not perceive his conditions as unhappiness, then no one can take away his bliss, precisely because such a misfortune has not changed the direction of his perceptions. Realize how much everything depends on you …
Because the happiness is in you. Happiness is in virtue, perceptions, and the right way of life. And to live happily and blissfully, you must live right.