So, I hear the World Happiness Report for 2017 is out. How did your country fare on the happiness ranking? Do you agree with the results?
I have only skimmed through it, but frankly, I was surprised my country fared much better than I expected. On any given day, I look around and I find my people always complaining about something.
Maybe about not having enough time or money to do the things they want to do.
Maybe about working long hours for little pay and show of respect, or studying long hours with no less anxiety and no more certainty about the future.
Maybe about having aching bodies and absent minds.
Maybe about nagging parents, frustrating partners, or irritating children.
Maybe about having no freedom to choose (but when given freedom, the complaint turns into having too many choices!).
Most of us do not live in poverty or hunger, terror, or solitude, but we still have much to complain, so I thought that my people must be a generally deeply unhappy population. But the Report reminded me that our unhappiness is nothing compared to that of the many other countries ranked below us.
I am not trying to say that we are in any way qualitatively better off because we are ranked higher – the Report only ranks countries by quantifying “happiness” according to their predefined variables. But I get the feeling that, whereas the lower ranked countries are unhappy about the quantity of “happiness,” we are unhappy with the quality of “happiness.” If we were asked how happy or unhappy we are with how much we have, I think we would have jumped up a few more places.
But, whether or not we are complaining in the same manner, we all complain because we are alive and we want to live better. And I believe that, as long as we are alive, we will always have a chance at grabbing hold of a better life. We will have to try hard for it, no doubt, but no chance will ever come around if we stop living.
I do not think that always complaining about something is necessarily a bad thing.
Maybe it is a good sign that you are aware of what is keeping you from being happy.
Maybe it will clarify what you need to do to remove or overcome the obstacles to happiness.
And maybe it will motivate you to dream bigger and try harder… and live fuller.
Whenever I complained about something, my grandmother used to say “you must be a very happy child to have so much to complain about!” I used to think she was simply being ironic, but I think I am beginning to understand what she really meant by it – I must be alive and well if I can find so many things in life I have room to improve!
The month of March is Suicide Prevention Month in my homeland. I want to tell everyone who is contemplating ending their life because they are generally deeply unhappy: keep complaining long enough, and you, or someone else who hears your complaints, will eventually grab a chance for you to make your life better. Please do not think that you cannot be happy living – I am living proof that you can be a happy crybaby!