Happiness – A Tricky Balance !

Human beings are on a constant pursuit of happiness. This happiness disguises itself as different things at different phases of our lives – good grades, careers, businesses, possessions, romance etc. But at the end of the day, we’re all chasing these things to bring us happiness, or a sense of contentment.

But have you ever felt out of track? It can happen to the best of us. We feel we’re doing great in terms of our career, but suffering silently due to tormented relationships with family or love interests. On the other hand, our relationships may be great and nurturing, but there may be issues with our finances or our health. Sometimes, it can be harrowing to feel that there’s constantly something lurking around to bring us down. We may have caught ourselves thinking at some point or the other in our lives, that when we have finally achieved that we were running after, suddenly a different aspect of our life starts throwing challenges at us.

It’s natural to feel this way, because we are constantly out of balance.

Let’s break it down. Happiness can be broadly summarized as contentment or satisfaction in the below four areas of one’s life –

  • CAREER (A good job, or practicing your dream profession)
  • WEALTH (Having a steady source of income and feeling an overall sense of stability and safety)
  • RELATIONSHIPS (Having a great social group consisting of a healthy & supportive partner and/or family members and a fun set of friends to socialize with etc)
  • HEALTH (Feeling the best of health – both physical and mental and an overall sense of vigor)
Four Quadrants of a Happy Existence

Someone with just a lot of wealth and great success in their career, but poor health and relationships isn’t a happy person. One the other hand, someone who has great relationships and fairly good health, but who is constantly suffering financial setbacks in their life isn’t a very happy person either. Humans are meant to achieve a reasonable balance in all four quadrants of their life.

I’d like to present two examples from my very own life –

  • At a point in my life when I was working, my work life was reasonably alright. I was surrounded by good people at work and the environment was very friendly and stress free (except for some occasional challenging days). But I suffered immensely in the ‘relationships’ aspect of my life. I was on a constant chase for romantic love and I faced multiple heartbreaks throughout the course of this chase. And I remember being really sad back then. I was heartbroken and upset even though I was doing pretty okay in my career.
  • After the above phase in my life was over and I had finally established a healthy, loving and stable relationship with my partner (currently my husband), I began to suffer in my career department. I had landed a job with a toxic boss, who made my life a living hell. I was constantly stressed, humiliated and spent days crying my eyes out. I remember being really unhappy and depressed even though I had a loving relationship my partner, family and friends.

Happiness therefore is being able to strike a healthy balance in all four quadrants of your life. Too much of one aspect and too little of the other will often lead to a miserable life.

One may chase immense wealth in their lifetime, but what is the point of all that wealth if there’s nobody you can share it with?

At the same time, one may truly dedicate their lifetime to fostering healthy relationships and caring only about fun times with family and friends, so much that they sacrifice their own dreams and goals and ultimately lose their sense of individuality and self-worth.

There may also be someone so focused at getting their dreams achieved, but they may end up losing their health in this relentless quest.

The combinations are endless, but the results are the same. A strong focus on just one or two quadrants while ignoring the other quadrants of your life will get you nowhere. Therefore, it’s necessary that we learn and implement a way of life to prosper in all the four aspects of our life to attain a happy and a meaningful existence !

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