Living in the UAE and especially the metropolitan areas such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, words like fashion, style and shopping are getting more popular by the day. For some, it’s as simple as looking good and eating delicious food but for many others it’s a hobby, passion, obsession and a way of life. There is no harm in shopping and looking good, but when did owning things turn into a skill or source of happiness, and how did it become that way?
The source of human behavior usually comes down to feeling good and seeking happiness. People work hard to gain money to buy what they want to feel happy. They buy a fancy car to impress others, they impress others to get acceptance, when they get the acceptance the happiness comes. People buy expensive jewelry to look good, they look good to feel valued by others and when they feel valued the happiness comes again. Happiness has become associated with money and belongings. Some people lie and persuade themselves that the things they buy are necessities to their daily lives.
The media is the best tool for programming humans. It shows what is acceptable and unacceptable in the society. That screen in the corner of the room tells the viewers what to like and what not to like. These media channels make money out of commercials and programs that promotes fashion, makeup, cars, and gadgets.
Television programs, movies, video games, songs and music videos always shows what the average person doesn’t have and subconsciously displays that everlasting happiness comes from owning fancy and expensive products. The question that everyone should ask is: do we really feel the happiness we seek after owning things that we don’t really need?
This article is not about living a simple life in the woods or moving to a farm in the desert. It’s not about throwing away everything you own and wear torn clothes to show that materialistic things mean nothing to you. It’s about that happiness we always seek. That pure joy we get every once in a while and we wish it lasted longer.
One of the experts of happiness was the Arabic philosopher Ibn Taymiya. He was a writer, philosopher, religious teacher, consultant and one of the brightest minds in Arabian history. He became a teacher at the age of 11 to students older than him and he was called “The Renovator of the Century”.
Ibn Taymiya faced great affliction and was imprisoned for years alone in solitary confinement. One day the prison guard came to his cell and said: “I am sorry you are here. You don’t deserve to be this miserable alone in prison.” Ibn Taymiya replied with a smile in his face: “I am not miserable, they can take away my freedom but my heaven is in my heart and no one can take that away from me.”
After Ibn Taymiya was released from prison, he became more knowledgeable than ever. He studied and wrote his best books when he was in prison. He even wrote on scraps of papers and the prison walls.
How does someone reach that level of happiness even during the hardest of times? Happiness is a state of mind; the more you think of happy thoughts the more they grow and multiply. Happy people are just positive people who focus on the good in their lives rather than the bad.
The secret to fighting depression comes from appreciation. If you felt sad and wanted to be happy then try this; everyday think of one new thing that you’re thankful for. You can start with something as simple as the pillow you sleep on, the nice clothes you wear, a part of your body or your face that you like, the friends and family who love you. Think about that thing while looking in the mirror and say from your heart, “thank you, I am very happy that you’re part of my life.”
This daily practice might appear silly but the second you look at yourself in the mirror, you will notice your smile gets wider and your heart beats louder with joy. That simple exercise as silly as it might appear, will do miracles to your life. Some might think, “I don’t have time” or “this is silly”. If you don’t have 5 minutes a day for your happiness, then you’re leaving the diamond you have already to work hard all your life for simple coins.
He explores in his column history, self development and enlightenment.
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