Derived from Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s collection of essays, Afternoon on Langerhans Island, the term 'little happiness' or 小确幸 became popular in the Chinese-speaking world in 2017 when it was popularized in Chinese by the translator Lin Shaohua.
Another definition of the term is “tiny but definite happiness,” and often pops up in daily life. For example, here in Taipei, enjoying hot pot with friends after a long work week may be described as someone's '小确幸.'
🌏 Generally seen as something positive, this term has another side to it, which is that many young people may feel hopeless about big goals such as buying their own home so best to indulge in small feelings of happiness instead. An article published earlier this month by Yve Xu and Crystal Tai - 'China’s ‘Little Happiness’: Why Brands Should Be Wary Of Toxic Positivity' - explains why "brands should be wary of incorporating too much positivity into messaging and campaigns; elements of realism and neutrality should be considered instead."
💡 It's interesting to see the progression of Murakami’s original definition of the term which he used to describe buying a lot of underwear, then washing and rolling them up one by one like sushi rolls. Neatly placed in a drawer, he felt a sense of satisfaction, which he described as his "little happiness".
What's your take?
My recent little happiness(es) are:
🌟 a walk on a sunny day after a week of rain
🌟 receiving a package from a client sent directly from a local oolong tea farm
🌟 hearing great news from a friend that she landed an exciting new job thereby starting the career change of her dreams
To quote my grandmother: "Everything in moderation." That may come from a different era, but the wisdom still stands.
Keep your 'little happiness' as long as it's in harmony with the other aspects of your life. If it's not, perhaps giving it up in order to be in more alignment with your goals will be a future form of 'little happiness.' 💜