Happiness is relative. To our memories, to our dreams, to our neighbours. Or happiness is. The yogic philosophy is at the same time incredibly caring and quite harsh. If you are not happy, it is your fault. Fault is probably the wrong word. Choice is perhaps better. Choice implies options and a comparison. As soon as you know something can't be changed, it ceases to be a choice. No matter how much you worry,compare or complain, nothing will help. Some things just are what they are. Some things are just hard. The rest is up to you.
Happiness for me is a combination of a question, a practice, and an acceptance. The acceptance bit is the part that I struggle with the most. The first two are empowering. Questioning opens up the world and lets you create paths in your mind to how thing could be. Practice employs that path and helps you take the next step. Acceptance closes things down. It limits options.
But limiting options can actually release creativity. Once we accept the way the world works, we can make it work for us. Combining idealism with pragmatism, we can start to do stuff that matters. We can practice. So acceptance can actually empower our questions. It can direct them to things that matter.
Given how complicated the world is, it seems most things that work are experiments rather than answers. The best answer is a better question. I like the metaphor of a parent and child. The parent provides the secure base from which a child can venture. Our conservative ideals and cultures are the parent. They are our cumulative knowledge and create our worldview. Then we play. Our liberal curious side wants to scratch at that world view and see how it can improve. Venturing out and seeing how things work away from our secure base. How our friends do things from other secure bases.
A secure base let's you look outwards
Venturing out can also provide perspective. There are many lists of comparison across countries. Borders are stupid. What they do do though is provide a natural experiment for learning how people, who are essentially the same, can do things incredibly differently. By looking at the world in completely different ways, others are able to see things in ways we are blinded to.
Then as a child grows up, the can take the best bits from those they don't choose, those they choose, and those they admire.