view from Universitas Indonesia Central Library
11 November 2013
13 November 2013
Happiness comes out naturally. It may be that you get tired, sick, cranky at work, but the mere fact that work keeps you going [and of course the people around you] makes life better, despite of the word “hard” in “hardwork”. Being yourself, being contented, and being thankful: the ingredients of genuine happiness.
It is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition to be happy by looking good. In short, these two concepts are not equivalent. I have experienced these for the 1.5 years I have spent at the Asian Development Bank, and another 1.5 years in De La Salle University [to which I am currently affiliated to]. I might have lost all the weight I have gained from the former, but I gained so much fulfillment, contentment, and gratitude from the latter. For this reason I am always thankful.
Indonesia is the last stop in the movie adaptation of the book Eat, Pray, Love (with the same title). A great coincidence with this is my recent reflection about being genuinely happy, in love, and thankful. Honestly, seeking “the right one” is one of the “desires of the heart” for most of us, but another word of warning always surfaces in social media: “love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely”. True, but how do we determine if we are indeed “ready”?
Might be that some people have these problems regarding failed relationships, unsuccessful career, among others. But at the end of the day, there are many things in this world that we must, we should, and we will be thankful. Moreover, it is not being in love with someone, but rather it is being happy that you would want to share happiness. It is not love [from someone] that will complete you, but it must be the outpouring love you have for each other that you want to share it to the whole world, as I recall how my philosophy teacher in college explains this idea of being in love.
Sometimes, the usual problem in communication models arises: the presence of “noise” or barriers to effective transmission of message from the sender to the recipient. In short, no matter how genuine your intention in doing something for your loved one, it may still be possible that it will be perceived in a different context. Possibly, wrong timing, wrong situation (well, it happens): something is indeed wrong. Either it is explicit or obvious, or might be something implicit [but in due time, it will reveal itself].
Love comes in many forms, and one of them is understanding and compassion. It is in this form that the above might be resolved. Another is forgiveness. Although relatively hard, it is one of the most powerful and liberating forms of love. And this not only liberates, it heals. It helps you move on, and start anew. These are what we need now in our modern and technologically-chaotic society.
As my friend’s daughter celebrated her sixth birthday recently, her birthday quote says, “Love heals the earth”. I do hope that this will come true, soon.
*I made this writeup after our Economix: Asian Economic Challenges competition in Universitas Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia. This is also to mark the successful inaugural trip of mine via plane, outside Luzon island, Philippines.
with Anne Siri (from Thailand),
a former colleague from ADB
with Dr Melanie S Milo, formerly from PIDS and now head of the macroeconomics research unit