(No) Definition of happiness
Becoming happy . Staying happy
Happiness plays an important role in our lives. Everyone wishes for a happy and thus fulfilled life. But how is happiness actually defined? In the Oxford Dictionary there are some explanations of the term, but no clear definition. Happiness is nothing universal. It is as individual as we are and means something different to each person. That is why a definition is so difficult to find. It is easier to say what happiness is not.
Happiness is not pleasure
The dream of a nice house, a fancy car, or an endless vacation in the Caribbean on the beach under palm trees. Going out and partying without having to go to work in the morning, winning the lottery, or finally finding the love of your life. These are all wishes that sound like happiness to many. But people who have all this are not automatically happier. No matter what we have or experience, in the long run we get used to it. In fact, these things are pleasures, but not happiness.
Pleasure is the experience of something extraordinary. It is fleeting, and that's what it should do. If we constantly had only pleasurable or fulfilling experiences, they would eventually cease to be special. In order to continue to have this good feeling, something even greater, more extraordinary would have to come along. Happiness, on the other hand, is a lasting feeling.
Happiness is not success
We all pursue goals and work constantly on our success. Goals vary from person to person. Professional success, the right partner, and athletic goals subliminally promise happiness. Unfortunately, success is like pleasure. Of course, we feel joy, pride, or satisfaction when we have achieved a goal. But what comes next? What happens when the marathon is over or when the promotion is there? After a while, the euphoria about it fades and it becomes commonplace. Like pleasure, success makes us happy for a short time at most.
Happiness is not conditional
If I had a partner, I would be happy. If I won the lottery, I would be happy. If I could live by the sea, I would be happy. Too many people attach conditions to happiness. These ifs and buts block the view of what counts. Life should be accepted unconditionally, just as it is. Only then comes the realization that life needs a balance between ideal and disappointment. This realization enables lasting happiness. Even when problems arise, it persists. After all, happiness does not mean not experiencing problems or disappointments. They are merely a coded message: "Something much better is waiting for you. You just have to say goodbye to what was and is."
Happiness is the fulfillment of your needs
Life is exactly as it should be? If you can say this about yourself and your life, you are happy and satisfied. How satisfied you are is determined by how you feel on a daily basis and your balance with external circumstances. There are nine categories of happiness.
Well-being: Body, mind and spirit must be in harmony and entirely healthy.
Environment: Everything that happens and is around you plays a role here. It includes all external factors such as safety, freedom, weather, home, and food.
Pleasure: Fun and enjoyment provide pleasure. However, these experiences are temporary and short-lived.
Relationships: Our relationships with family, partner, and friends are a significant factor in our level of happiness.
Outlook: How we deal with the future is important to our happiness. Look forward with anticipation and curiosity and make plans for the future.
Meaning: Do you know where you are in life? Do you know why you are standing there? Are you comfortable where you are standing?
Involvement: Happiness doesn't fall from the sky. Be mindful of your needs and actively work for your happiness.
Success: Getting approval is part of being happy. In addition to validation from others, validation from yourself is most important.
Resilience: Not everything always goes smoothly. Again and again we encounter obstacles and problems in life. It's not about avoiding them, but about how you deal with them. How well do you cope and how quickly do you recover from negative experiences?
An illusion of perfect happiness
Perfect happiness is an illusion. For this state, all nine categories would have to feel perfect at the same time. As desirable as it is, in some categories there will be factors or circumstances that are not perfect. This is not a bad thing as long as you recognize this, focus on the other categories, and appreciate their values.
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Everyone is the architect of his own happiness. This sounds like a truism, but nothing and no one can make you happy except yourself. Only you are responsible for your happiness.
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