What Is Happiness? 2


Welcome, I have been expecting you. Just as I expect all intellectuals to join us here eventually.

Everyone seeks happiness and thus it is safe to say that everyone with “smarts” is going to look for a clear understanding of what it is. I am going to tell you what happiness is, what it is not, and I am going to explain why it is not what you are after.

I can promise you that the definition of happiness you have in your head is something you CAN achieve.

Wait, Does Everyone Really Seek Happiness?

Of course they do, you are not alone, happiness has been the ultimate goal of every human who has ever existed. Heck, name the three things YOU desire, cherish, or find to be the most valuable. Now break it down, rejoice with your inner toddler and ask “why?”, “why?”, “why?”.

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. -Aristotle

I desire a new job.     Why?

Because I do not like the one I have now.     Why?

Because I do not like working 60 hours a week.     Why?

Because I like having time to spend with my family.     Why?

Because when I get to spend time with my family, I feel happy.

What YOU will find is that although happiness is not an obvious goal, it is always the end goal.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. – Henry David Thoreau

There are many rivers that flow into the sea of happiness, such as money, love, friendships, honor, and health. But these goals are simply stepping stones to what it is that you and every other person on this earth desires.

What Happiness Is…

Happiness has many different interpretations, definitions, and philosophies. I expect that is why you are still searching for its true meaning. Happiness does not have to be complex, in all reality it is extremely simple to understand.

Feel Good Emotion

Happiness is an emotion. It is an emotion we try to evoke by doing things that make us feel good. So happiness for YOU may not be what happiness is for me. For YOU it may be feelings of passion, achievement, excitement, inspiration, and freedom. For me it may be feelings of peace, satisfaction, comfort, grace, and serenity.

Since happiness is doing things that make us feel good, judgment and perception play a big part in it. Whether you perceive a situation as good or as bad, will impact if you feel happy or unhappy. Luckily you do have control of your perception, which is necessary for life-long happiness discussed below.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. – Abraham Lincoln

Fulfillment of Desires

How-to be happy
Image copyright The_Moment – Flickr.com

Another simple way of defining happiness is when someone gets something they want. In other-words, happiness is experienced when one fulfills a desire such as getting a new Fondue set, a visit to Mee-maw, or graduating from college, the list goes on and on. However, there is an even bigger list which is the list of desires that go unfulfilled.

If happiness is when someone gets what they want then unhappiness can be thought of as when someone does not get what they want. The irony is that you have power over how many things you want. The real question we should ask ourselves is, “is the short term pleasures of getting some of those things we want worth all of the misery and failure that we feel when we do not get those many, many things we desire?”.

Happiness and unhappiness are two sides of the same coin, you cannot ask for one without being susceptible to the other. It is impossible to have only light and no darkness.

Book Definitions

Happiness is commonly defined as:

  • a state of well-being and contentment (Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary)
  • a pleasurable or satisfying experience (Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary)
  • 1590’s definition – pleasant and contented mental state (Dictionary.com)
  • state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy (Dictionary.com)

What Happiness is not

If we look at the book definitions along with the other two above we will find that happiness is not long-term. The book definitions refer to it as “a state” or “an experience”. Nowhere does it mention that this emotion can be sustained over a long period of time.

This then implies that most times when a person experiences happiness, unhappiness will follow. Think about it, if something brings you good feelings what happens when that “state” or “experience” ends? Do you feel unhappy because you have lost or miss the moment when you were happy?

You are not seeking happiness, because happiness is a short-term pleasure. What you are seeking is larger solution, a type of life-long happiness.

Life-long Happiness

If it wasn’t such a long name our site would be called “How-toBeHappyForLife”. While we do offer short-term fixes

What is happiness
Image copyright Kate Ter Haar – Flickr.com

to happiness, the main objective here is to guide you in creating a life for yourself that brings joy, satisfaction, and contentment on a daily basis.

What you are seeking goes by many names; some call it euphoria, hippies call it peace, the Buddhist call it Nirvana, health professionals call it optimal wellness, and others refer to it as serenity. Was the following what you were thinking of when you decided to seek out happiness?

“I want to live an optimal life that is fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying”.

To me this is true happiness, this is life-long happiness and we can become aware of choices and consistently make decisions that encourage this kind of life. If that seems like a scary prospect, don’t worry, myself, this website, and our community are here to help!

I promise you CAN achieve this kind of happiness and here’s why!

  • As mentioned earlier, happiness is an emotion and all emotions have causes which can be understood and controlled. We can learn which causes to create more of and which to stay away from. You can learn to invite situations into your life and learn to keep others out.
  • Perceiving things as good or bad affects your happiness levels. Your mind creates this judgment and perception and YOU create your mind. The mind can be trained to see the beauty that surrounds you.
  • The more things a person “wants” the more chances they have to feel unhappiness and failure. You can learn to want less and feel content, appreciative, and grateful for the things you have and the precious moments that present themselves. The current sociocultural status of the world we live in makes this challenging, but that is all it makes it. Though challenging, learning to have less desires means less obsession and distraction from the present moment, which offers many instances of joy.

Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. -Denis Waitley

I end by saying life-long happiness is something YOU have control over. You have the freedom of choice and are able to make decisions to make your life satisfying. I have done it and I know you can. The resources are here at your fingertips, you just have to utilize them.

All actions on your part require you to make the choices and decisions that encourage an optimal life that is fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying.

I challenge you to actively fight towards becoming a person who enjoys life and is in love with living!

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. -Margaret Lee Runbeck

What do you think happiness is?

I would love to hear your definitions in the comments below.

Other posts you are likely to find intriguing:

12 Strategies to Stop Negative Thoughts

How to Have Fun and Be Happy Doing Anything

  • Jackie

    I think your website is fantastic! You have dramatically changed my life for the better! Your insightful articles have really encouraged me to grow as an individual! Thank you so much and keep up the good work! Looking forward to reading more of your articles!

    • TJ

      Thank you Jackie! You can count on many more helpful posts to come!