Do people we love make us happy?
Are our friends supposed to be pleasure pumps to keep our happiness tanks filled?
Could there be a universal equation to keep our happiness quotient high?
When we perceive people with sky-high expectations, they always seem to disappoint us. In the quest for a relation which floods our life with happiness, we forget to consider if we also have a role in that relationship or if there could be equally high cross-expectations from the other side also.
The question now is; which part of the cultivation of a relationship should be my priority? Is my focus on sowing the seed of relationship in the fertile soil of giving? Or do I directly focus on the gains (not grains) of receiving through the process of harvesting from the relationship?
Most people are only bothered or enthusiastic about receiving happiness from their friends, so much so that they have absolutely no thought or inclination to give happiness. A vital clue to real happiness in relationships lies in the way the God of happiness, Krsna, lived his life. Krsna’s life was centered on giving happiness to people he loved. While in Vrindavan, using his flute he knew exactly which melody would churn people's hearts at different times of the day. Any danger to the community, and he would put his life at risk. Realizing how much he cared for their happiness, people were more than ready to offer their lives at his beck and call.
Because Krsna always cared for others’ happiness, his friends knew they could always rely on him, come what may. Draupadi called only for him during two of her greatest crisis, during vastra-haran and when Durvasa created a dilemma for her. Arjuna turned to him and only him (in the presence of the greatest scholars on earth including his guru) for solutions during his greatest confusions. Yudhishtir offered the greatest respect and the entire credit of winning only to Krsna when he became the emperor of the world.
Historically, with every kingdom that Krsna was instrumental in conquering, he preferred the lasting joy of winning more friends than the joy of sitting on the throne. He gleefully handed over the throne to someone else. Whether it was Magadha, Mathura or Hastinapura, Krsna gave his strategy to win the war, but his greater strategy was in winning life-long friendships. He gave so much, so naturally he received so much.
When you contemplate on the needs, interests and concerns of others and are tuned into thinking of what really makes another happy, there is no time or predisposition to think of your own happiness. Self-absorption results in depression. Psychologically, most depressions are result of thinking too much about one’s own needs, interests and concerns. In fact those who live thinking about the needs, interests and concerns of others’ become icons for the world.
The same is true on the level of individual relationships. Just like a small tidal wave inside an ocean becomes a tsunami outside the ocean. Similarly, your small efforts in giving happiness to others, come flooding into your life in the form of happiness that others try to give you.
When you look for your happiness exclusively, friends abandon you in no time, conscious of your selfishness. Then you have to contend yourself with short spurts of happiness from myriad sources. But when you focus on others’ happiness, people get helplessly drawn toward you and what you get is a lifetime of exponential growth of mutual happiness.
IQ is about how much intelligence you have, but HQ is about how much happiness you give others. The more the HQ, the happier you will be!
In search of a relationship that gives pleasure, we forget we could also be that person who gives pleasure to others. We are so engrossed in our own happiness, we have no thought of giving others happiness too. But the fact is that in giving we receive. We receive love, joy and lifelong friendships.
An added advantage of giving other’s needs and concerns priority is that we have little time left to think of our own joys and sorrows thereby eliminating depression from our life. Self-absorption results in depression. Small efforts in giving others happiness results in others trying to give you happiness with the happy result of mutual happiness.
Your happiness quotient lies in how much joy you give others.
(Shubha Vilas is a Tedx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. He studied patent law after completing his engineering degree. But, finally, he chose the path of a spiritual seeker. Ramayana: The Game of Life is his bestselling series. He’s also the author of Open-Eyed Meditations and Perfect Love - 5.5 ways to lasting relationships. The focus of his work is the application of scriptural wisdom in day-to-day living, addressing the needs of corporates and youth through thought-provoking seminars. He has delivered more than 4000 lectures across the globe. He is also a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management.)
(To know more about him, visit www.shubhavilas.com)