Blog post by Raakhee Venugopal:
The other day I was reading a book (I’m deliberately leaving out the name of the book coz I don’t want people thinking that the subject of the book just might have influenced my thought process) and came across a line wherein the central character realizes that all her life, she has chosen to be safe than happy. I put down my book and thought about it. And sadly realized that I too have opted for something similar. Like many others.
To make sure my thoughts aren’t prejudiced based on my own experiences, I posted this as a question to my Facebook friends. The results I got were a myriad of emotions hidden in a few intelligent comments. Most preferred to remain silent on the matter. Their answers were evident. Silence often speaks volumes, you see 🙂
I quote one of my own Facebook comments on the subject here:
People often opt for safety rather than happiness….Safety could be anything…..’emotional/psychological safety‘ (by being in a stable relationship even if there is no passion left in it), ‘financial/occupational safety‘ (by holding onto a job just coz u’re getting a regular paycheck even though it sucks the life out of you), ‘physical safety‘ (by being around somebody who is physically stronger than you even though they are a pain to be around), ‘social safety‘ (by adhering to seemingly senseless rules laid down by ‘society’ just coz you know you will be shunned if you dare disobey even though you don’t personally approve of them), ‘religious/spiritual safety‘ (by blindly following rules laid down aeons ago even if you don’t understand WHY they were laid down and what sense it makes to be following them today), and even ‘educational safety‘ (by joining for a course you loathe just coz it promises a ‘safe’ career option 3 or 4 years down the line)…………..and such people seek ‘happiness’ in ‘safety’…….while they know in the deepest areas of their conscience that THIS is not what they have truly wanted…..THIS is not being ‘happy’ in their personal dictionary….NO.
They hear of somebody else doing something they have always wanted to do and sigh….and within moments of their sojourn,they set about finding the negative sides of that person….in a way that they want to appease their own conscience that ‘It’s okay….you’re not missing anything….if you’d done that,you’d have had a similar mess in your life too….you are happy now….you are happy now….you are HAPPY NOW!’
Just coz u repeat something you want to believe to be true…..that doesn’t make it the truth. 🙂
I thought about all the things and situations wherein I would have been truly happy. To be honest, I had a good laugh that ended in a sad sigh. They say it’s good to dream. I think now I know why. In your dream world, everything is perfect…just the way you want it to be. Happiness everywhere…not a shred of sorrow or anger anywhere…no ropes that tie you down…a world where you can spread out your wings and fly with nobody to tell you that flying is sinful!
People who have chosen happiness over safety have often found themselves as social outcasts though. I recall my teenage now…a time when I used to express some of my dreams…I remember that my dreams and wishes used to get people unsettled a bit 🙂 And then they’d chide me for trying to go ‘against the flow‘ or by saying that I didn’t drop down from outer space to harbor thoughts way beyond my cultural,social,financial,physical,etc. restrictions. I didn’t quite understand things back then, to be honest. But now I reckon they said so because all they wanted me to have is a safe life. Forget about pursuing just happiness. She’ll find happiness when she’s safe. Different lines of thought. That’s all.
On my Facebook post, a couple of friends had asked me ‘ How can one be happy if one is not safe?‘… This is the result of years of mental honing. The question makes perfect sense when you think about it within your own boundaries. But if you let your thoughts to escape those mental barbed wire fences, you’ll see the answer for yourself. Happiness need not always mean safety (for definitions of safety in this context, scroll up)
Nevertheless,I do understand that to lead a ‘normal‘ life, the majority of us have had to trade our happiness for safety. nothing wrong in that. Just pondering over our patterned lives…..that’s all 🙂