José de Jesús García: Happiness in times of pandemic

Jose de Jesus GarciaJosé de Jesús García Source: Courtesy

Some time ago, I had the great opportunity to meet Matthieu Ricard, considered as the “Happiest man in the world”. Being a student of happiness and having already read a couple of Matthieu books, sitting across from him represented a feeling that I have rarely had in my life. It was not long, just a few minutes, but as happens when a dream crystallizes, we are suddenly speechless. I was, however, able to exchange some thoughts that I clearly remember as if it were yesterday. What struck me the most was his way of being, very congruent with what he preaches in his books and with what is said about him.

Perhaps what I remember most is what he told me about the origin of happiness. My wife had just had brain surgery resulting from the removal of a tumor and we were going through a difficult situation due to the stress of the operation and rehabilitation therapy. I commented to Matthieu that there were times when we were desperate because of the slow progress and that we were often afraid that the situation would get even more complicated. With that contagious tranquility who have great personalities told me: “You cannot control what comes from outside, but what you have inside. Seek your tranquility and happiness within”.

These words have helped me a lot over the years. It is a fact that I cannot control the pandemic or avoid its consequences, but if I can work within myself so that its effects on me are not so negative. One of the most recurring questions in recent times is whether we should try to be happy in these difficult times of a pandemic. It seems unfair that we are seeking to be happy when there are many people who suffer and who have less than us. The answer is not very complicated: being happy we will have more possibilities to help others. Even in times of pandemic it is important that we try to be happy. We can better help others and that will make ourselves happier.

We have to understand first that happiness is not just pleasure or laughter. Being happy is not being happy all the time or always having a good time. Sometimes we go through not very pleasant stages (like this pandemic) and that is not why we should think that we are unhappy. As human beings we are exposed to all kinds of emotions and, although they positive emotions They are the cherry on the cake of life, negative emotions are part of our day to day. One of the most interesting articles I have read in these times invites us to recognize that it is okay that we do not feel good (It’s OK not to be OK). The habit of always showing a kind face or not recognizing that we are going through difficult times, far from contributing to our happiness, what causes a delay in our healing.

The pandemic has brought us a difficult situation to bear; It took us by surprise and has gone on much longer than we expected. Confinement, lack of physical contact, the effects at work and the reduction almost to zero of our recreational activities abroad have caused us annoyance, anxiety and, above all, uncertainty. And it’s okay that we have these emotions. It’s okay that we suddenly explode and wonder Why did I have to live this experience? The important thing is to learn to manage the reaction we will have to these emotions.

Life is full of good and bad times. The difficult situations they are part of our life and our evolution. If we hope that there will never be problems, that there will never be emergencies, and that there will never be bad times, our lives will surely be full of disappointments and frustrations. This is life and you can still be happy.

No one promised us that life would be perfect and smooth. But the truth is that in general we have been lucky and our lives have been pleasant in most of the times we have lived. Difficult moments appear in our lives from time to time and somehow help us to realize how lucky we are. Before the eventualities of life, We will always have two options: regret and wait suffering for the bad to happen or take action and take the best of what life gives us.

Today more than ever, being happy is an option that we all have.

This is an opinion column. The expressions used here are the sole responsibility of the person signing them and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of El Financiero.