What I’ve Learned About Happiness In India…

What I’ve Learned About Happiness In India

Living in India for last four years has been a life-changing experience for me in every way. Although I consider myself a spiritual person and I’m digging into spirituality, yoga, meditation and personal growth for last decade, it was the experience of living in India which got me “enlightened” the most profoundly. I have learned three most valuable life lessons on happiness that I’ve learned while living in India.

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1) Happiness is Not in Things

I went to India for a one-month holiday, carrying just a few sweaters and some cosmetic products. But due to sudden unplanned circumstances, I decided to stay and live in India. I carried none of my belongings from Europe with me, and I had nothing there. I had to start from scratch, from buying new clothes to buying a laptop to work on.

What surprised me the most was that I realised I wasn’t actually missing my “things” so much. My precious jewelry, books, clothes and bags, all of my belongings… I left behind, and still I could live without it. Happily.

Somethings I bought other things I could live without. The only things I were really missing were those of sentimental value, which had dear memories attached to them.

2) The Power of Gratitude

Living in India, I could see a lot of poverty in slums, where people are living under few metal pieces put together to provide them shade, without access to clean water, electricity, healthcare, fans or money to buy some ice to chill their water when heat in summers reaches up to 46 C, and very often a proper meal.

What touched me the most was seeing our maid chilling water in the refrigerator in our penthouse apartment every day whenever I was feeling hot in summer even with air conditioner being on all day long when the temperature would go over 45 C. She would then run back to the slums where she lived to carry the chilled water to her kids, as they did not have a proper roof over their head, not to mention electricity and a refrigerator. She had to run, as it was so hot that water would get warm if she was walking. I am still wondering how these people manage all day in hot weather, without bathroom, without mosquito repellent, without proper meal on the table, without even proper roof over their head.

This taught me an important lesson on how grateful we should feel for everything we have every day, and take it for granted (especially in Western countries). I even look at ice cubes in my glass differently nowadays, as I know that for some people even chilled water is a luxury! Not all people are living in slums, of course. There are many who have jobs and a decent paycheck, home, food on the table, education and healthcare access. But the overall standard of living is lower than in the Western part of the world, and life is tough there.

Despite that, people are much happier. They have a genuine smile on their face, they sing, they dance, they laugh, and they are kinder. Unlike in the West, where people are using the word “stress” to describe their everyday life!

Spirituality, bonding with family, faith, finding the joy in little things life are the things that Indian people base their happiness on.

3) Happy Marriage Ingredients

One of the things that was the most difficult for me to grasp in India was the arranged marriage. People do not, as per the rule, fall in love in each other and get married. They get introduced by their parents and family members, get married if decided that they are good fit, and fall in love after the marriage!

It was difficult for me to even imagine this kind of scenario, but I accepted it as part of the colorful and different Indian culture. Over time, as I was meeting more and more Indian couples I used to notice that many of the couples who got married this way are actually getting along well. There is no passion and love at first, but they treat each other with respect and mutual kindness. They are trying to make another person happy, and this seems to be the “secret” of their bonding after the marriage.

I remembered how I used to see many couples back in my country, who had a love marriage, being rude to each other, disrespecting each other, saying hurtful thighs to one other, who were actually not happy with each other after the marriage.

I realized that respecting the spouse, acts of kindness, and consistently doing small things every day to make the other person happy matter a lot. And even if there is love and passion over the roof to begin with, these things seem to be essential for happiness in marriage!

Life in India is so different and there are many things that push you to check your ego out of the door, be willing to see things from another perspective, self-reflect, and dive deep within. I guess that is one the reasons why India is considered as a spiritually awakening country. Even without paying the visit to any temple or yoga center, experiencing India can be a profound spiritual experience itself.


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Danijela Jokic Vaislay

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Danijela Jokic Vaislay is a life coach and author of ‘Self Worth – Women’s Guide To Increasing Self Worth, Self…

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