Between humans, science, and society, there are so many definitions of happiness that sometimes, it’s hard to decide whether or not we’re truly living happily.
The way humans may define happiness can differ from age-group to goals in life, to life roles, jobs, etc. Upon interviewing three different humans on what happiness to them is, they came up with the following: safety; fulfilling your purpose in life, and making my family happy. This shows that humans are more subjective to happiness in doing important things in life rather than indulging in temporary pleasures.
The scientific definition of happiness was discovered around 450 B.C. by Greek philosophers Aristippus and Aristotle. They agreed that levels of happiness varied a lot, and came up with two main types of well-being: hedonic and eudaimonic. Hedonic leaning more towards pleasure, and temporary wonders, meanwhile, eudaimonic expressed the values of doing what is worth doing rather than just having fun.
Experts are still trying to crack the myth of true joy through a study called “Positive Psychology,” which also shows us that engaging in activities with meaning and purpose fulfill our hearts more than an “occasional lay” or going out drinking every weekend. When we put our energy into more positive things, we become more positive people!
Society seems to measure happiness in its own three regards: accomplishments (graduating, working, etc.), money (buying a home or car, having fancy things, traveling), and relationships (family/friends, spouse, self). It seems that unless we have something to show off to the people around us, we can’t be happy, right? False. The only factor I can vouch for here are the accomplishments. Of course, succeeding in something you dreamed about and attaining your goals is one of the biggest factors of happiness.
But also remember, you cannot achieve success unless you are happy taking the steps to do so. Money can’t buy happiness or fix your relationships, but loving yourself can get you to be happy enough to succeed and get all the money you want. Remember: it is all a pyramid that starts with joy. Happiness leads to self-love and motivation, motivation leads to success, success leads to happy relationships and even to money. But you can’t do any of that without figuring out how to be happy with yourself first.
Happiness is a choice.
I’m sure you can agree that we pay more attention and bear more weight on negative emotions than our positive ones. This is because they have a harder hit. Any negative comment attacks our egos (the way we feel about ourselves), and any dissatisfactory situation or attempt can affect our pathos (our emotions, and what we feel in general. We have to understand, that it is in our power to minimize negative moods and maximize life satisfaction.
Take everything with a grain of salt, and find the positivity in each situation — even if it is a lesson learned. Understand that every time you fail at something, you are one step closer to succeeding if you get up and try it again. It is important we learn to train ourselves to put more weight on positive emotions in order to exercise our egos and pathos to grow stronger. That way, negativity won’t hit like a truck, just a little pinch and we move forward. You will soon begin to feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders that you never knew was holding you down.
So now that we’ve defined happiness, and we understand it’s not found at the end of the bottle, how do we do it? Here is some food for thought on your daily well-being. Always remember to put positive emotion in everything you do or go through. Instead of thinking “Why do these things happen to me?” think “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger and smarter.”
Engage yourself in fruitful activities. Go paint a picture even if you suck at it, catch up with an old friend, finally fulfill that dream you’ve always wanted, read a book that will make you smile. It’s always better to avoid a negative situation and learn something new in a positive way, rather than undergoing something that will force you to learn, and maybe even leave some damage in the process! Always value your relationships.
Whether it is with family, friends, a significant other, and even yourself. NEVER take those who love you for granted, because love and trust are hard to find and harder to replace. Instead of trying to find ways to forget your pain, try to find meaning in your struggles. Working towards your goals no matter how exhausting it is, your accomplishments will never fail to fill you up.
“Choose to live in joy. Life goes by in the blink of an eye. It’s too short to live angry, resentful, or ungrateful. If you look for good, you’ll find it. . . be at peace. . . decide that each day is going to be a great day and grab each moment and make the best of it. Refuse to let negative thoughts… and people … and situations … drag you down. Trust your journey… see it (mistakes) as a lesson learned and keep moving forward. Spend less time worrying and more time being grateful for those who love you and all of life’s goodness.”-Charity M. Richey-Bentley