Regardless of whether a person is a man or a woman, young or old, focused on family, career, travel or friends. Whatever dreams, goals, and standard of living they have in life. We all have one thing in common. We all want to be happy. So it’s really odd, that the vast majority of people have a bad (if any) idea of what happiness is and how to keep it in their lives.
What happiness is?
Perhaps at first glance this is a rather strange question.
Although philosophers have been thinking about how to define this term for many centuries, most people do not think about the definition. They recognize when happiness comes to their lives and what it feels like. But on the other hand, how do you want to get something that you can’t even define?
So let’s first consider what happiness is.
Happiness is a feeling
Generally, most people feel happy when they experience love, whether with a partner, a child, or a parent. We experience happiness if we have great friendships in our lives. We feel happy when we are working, traveling or earning enough money to make us feel successful and important, secure, safe and comfortable.
These are all pleasant feelings. Happiness means having pleasant feelings.
So now, even more important question is, what causes these pleasant feelings?
I have a small exercise for you:
List five things that have made you happy in your life.
There may be things like a university diploma, loving and supporting parents, a good job, a wonderful partner, good earnings, great kids, good friends, a fun hobby, a goal achieved, an amazing holiday, some book, movie, food, experience,…
The fact is, every person answers a little differently. 🙂
Generally, it is not possible to say that only certain things make people happy and others do not.
Everyone is happy for different reasons.
For how many people is pregnancy a blessing and for how many a life complication? Often, it also depends on the correct timing.
Why do some people need love to experience these pleasant feelings? Why others feel happy when they have a successful career? And why are some people already happy, when they have something to eat and are healthy?
For sure, it is mainly given by your priorities in life. But also a big part of this is what society you were born in, your upbringing, and on what standards is your brain adapted.
Generally, we can say, that if we live according to our standards and expectations of life, we are happy. However, if a single area in our life does not work as we would like, we do not feel happy or only partially.
Happiness, therefore, comes when life goes as we wish or even better. At times when life is not according to our expectations, we do not feel happiness.
How to be happy?
Given that most people do not have a clear idea of what happiness is, even fewer people are clear about how to be happy and especially how to maintain happiness for the rest of their lives.
Yes, we know subconsciously that we feel happy when we are feeling pleasant. So we try to experience these pleasant feelings in our lives as often as possible.
We watch movies and series, enjoy good food and drink, go to fun events, meet friends. We are looking for a partner with whom we would be well, trying to create comfortable living, buying beautiful things, going to work and trying to earn as much money as possible. Also, we exchange our time for money because for money we can buy everything that seems to makes us happy.
The whole thing seems like a completely simple and understandable model.
So why, despite the fact that people now have more comfort and freedom than ever before, live to much higher age and can marry for love, so many people do not feel happy?
Maybe we’re doing something wrong.
How else to achieve those pleasant feelings? For real and permanently? We will talk about that in the next article.
But first, we have to talk about a dangerous mistake people do, when it comes to happiness.
Journey to happiness
Today’s society is strongly focused on goals, not process.
We see happiness as a destination on the top of the mountain to which we must reach. We imagine, that once we are on top of the mountain we will stay there for the rest of our lives without any additional effort. But this idea is wrong. Happiness is not a destination.
It’s not something you’ll get once and forever.
It’s like with your body. You may reach your perfect body and have a great condition. But you need to keep eating healthy and exercise regularly. And you need to do it all the time, otherwise, the pretty body will get lost over time. It’s not like once you eat 1 ton of healthy food and work out 1000 hours, you’ll have a nice figure forever.
And with happiness, it’s the same. The more you practice to feel well, the more often you will feel well. The more days you spend as a happy person.
So as you can see, being happy is a life-long journey.
Since it’s a journey and not a goal, it would be also unwise to wait for a “perfect moment”, before you finally start to feel happy.
But that’s what many people do. They spend decades waiting for this “perfect moment” when finally everything in their life aligns and they will be able to start being happy. They imagine, that once they reach this moment when everything in their life is finally “perfect”, they will be happy from that moment till the end of their life.
But life doesn’t work that way. Life is never perfect.
And that is very dangerous. You might spend most of your life waiting, instead of enjoying it.
You don’t have to be on the top of the mountain to start enjoying the view. Try to enjoy each step on the way, look around and embrace every breath and moment instead. It’s only a matter of a decision.
You can decide to be happy NOW.
Where to look for happiness?
So how can we enjoy each day? Where should we look for those pleasant feelings, AKA happiness?
Intuitively, we use food, entertainment, chasing earnings, shopping, and the like to be happy. But as we can see in the western world, it often doesn’t work. We need to think of a better tactic to achieve those good feelings.
Now you’re probably wondering what the right tactics are? How does one achieve happiness that is real and lasting? Let’s talk about that in the next article.