It’s not so easy to be asked about what’s important in life and focus on one answer. However, what I can say for sure is that it is very important to have a vague feeling that “many happy things will happen in the future.”
Life is not all fun
As long as you are alive, many sad and painful things will happen in life. It’s hard to believe that life is made up of only happy and joyful things. If you believe it forcibly, it is nothing but self-deception. It’s that simple. An event in your life that you think is sad (it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big event like a disaster or war. If you can’t list a single thing (such as spilling espresso on a brand new carpet, or accidentally deleting an important photo, or not even enough to write in such a diary), you’ve either lied to yourself or lost your memory. In order to live a happy life, it may sound paradoxical, but it is important to realize that “life is not all happy things”.
Why is it important to realize that “life is not all fun and joy”?
In Japan, watermelon, a sweet fruit, is sometimes eaten with salt. The reason is to bring out the sweetness of the watermelon. As intelligent as you may have noticed, the same is true in life. If you think of sweetness as happiness and saltiness as unhappy, it is precisely because there are unhappy things that make you happy more attractive and you can enjoy the taste more. The same can be said for photography. Why do beautiful photos increase contrast? It is based on the basic fact that there is darkness because there is light, and there is light because there is darkness, and to show that the more polar it is, the more beautiful the photograph will be. But just as an overly edited photo is not beautiful, too much of that contrast can make life tiring. Therefore, rather than a disease in which life is pitch black, that is, depression, a disease in which there is excessive joy and excessive sadness in life, that is, bipolar disorder that repeats manic and depressive states, has a significantly higher suicide rate. Of course, I’m not writing a paper on psychiatry here, so I apologize in advance for not being an accurate representation. I digress, but what I’m trying to say is that you have to admit that you are unhappy, and it is because of that you get to know the flavor of life better. There’s a saying to the effect that “He who has never eaten bread with tears knows life,” and that’s exactly what it is.
You don’t have to look for reasons for feeling happy
You can understand the deliciousness of carbonara without having to think deeply about why that carbonara is delicious when you are eating it. That way, you don’t need a deep reason to think you’re happy. And that feeling has no basis. There is no uniform standard, just as “not everyone with a million euros of funds is happy” or “not everyone with disabilities is unhappy”. If you think you’re happy, you’re happy. And that feeling is sometimes vague. You can say, “I’m happy because I’ve completed a big job,” but you may think, “Somehow, I’m happy.”
It is precisely because the standards of happiness are not unified that there are many things in the world. If every woman liked pink dresses, the streets would be full of pink dresses. Some people wear floral orange dresses, some people wear plain pink dresses, some people wear T-shirts and pants, some people wear lace jackets and skirts… It is precisely because of this diversity that we are stimulated in our daily lives. If there were only pink dresses in a world, the scenery and mood would be monotonous. And it is precisely because there is diversity in the standards of happiness that various businesses, policies, and products are born.
A vague hope that “from now on I will be happier” will help you stabilize your life mentally
Similarly, the feeling that “the hard times will eventually end and there will always be fun and joyful things in your life” may likewise not need a clear reason. There may be a clear reason, such as “I am about to move abroad in a year’s time,” or it may not be. That feeling is what we call “hope.” And when you lose that hope, thinking “I can’t be happy anymore” or “I’m just unhappy because there are no good things in the future,” it will definitely have a negative impact on your life.
I tried to write about happiness in my own way, but the definition of happiness varies greatly from person to person. But even if you endure a painful environment where everyone sheds tears, if you have the feeling, “I can always be happy, I deserve to be happy, and I would be happy if I could,” then that person will surely be able to regenerate from their mental difficulties. On the other hand, thinking “I can’t be happy”, thinking “I don’t deserve to be happy”, feeling “I’m sorry to be happy” is not going to be very happy. In order not to have such feelings and to have moderate hope and optimism, self-affirmation is important. To love yourself, to admit to yourself, to be proud of who you are… It may seem like a lot of work to write this, but I think the quickest way to have those feelings is to be mentally healthy. If you can rest well, do what you love to the best of your ability, reward yourself and acknowledge that you are working hard, you will gradually develop a sense of self-esteem.