Everyone wants to be happy, but what does happiness really mean? How do we know if we’re happy? Can anyone be happy all of the time? How do we find happiness? When we talk about life happiness, these are the questions that we ask.
Our perception of life happiness is as individual as the way we perceive hot or cold. For all of us, it’s sort of the same, yet it’s also different. Every individual person is different, and therefore each persons description of what makes a life happy will also be different.
Dictionary.com says happiness is:
1. Characterized by good luck; fortunate
2. Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy
Webster’s Dictionary says happiness is: A state of well-being and contentment
So, if we use these definitions, in order for us to say we are happy we would be fortunate, showing pleasure and feeling content. That makes sense. Most of the people that we think are happy usually show these characteristics, so lets use this definition and go from there.
Can I have life happiness if I don’t think I’m fortunate? Hmmm, that’s an interesting question isn’t it? Most people are happy when they feel fortunate or blessed by good luck, and most people who feel unfortunate or feel like they have lots of bad luck are unhappy. BUT, perception is everything. A person can break their leg in a skiing accident (bad luck) and still be happy and smiling because they feel blessed and fortunate (probably because they didn’t break both legs!). They could be happy because they know they will heal, and because they had such a great time right up until they ran into that tree! Get the picture?
Or a person could have what most of us would call good fortune and still seem not to have life happiness. There is an art to happiness, and some of us know it and some of us don’t, but we all can learn.
Is life happiness the same for everyone? Probably not, even though the normal signs of happiness listed above in the dictionary definitions probably show up in every person who is happy. Different things make different people happy, so happiness and the pursuit of happiness cannot be the same. For example: I am a quiet type of person who loves to work from home and socializes only once or twice a week. You may be a very gregarious person who works in an office full of people and lunches with a different person each day and goes to a party every Saturday evening. We’re both happy, but our lifestyles are very different. Besides that, what you view as something that would produce happiness may not be a priority for me. Maybe it makes you happy to go on wonderful ski vacations twice a year. It might make me happy to go on wonderful vacations in my back yard and to squirrel my money away. Both situations are right, and we are both happy.
How do you know if you’re happy? The best way to tell if you are happy is to ask yourself how you are feeling. Really feeling. Do you feel at ease, relaxed and OK with how things are going on a pretty consistent basis? Then you’re probably happy. Feel your body. Is your body relaxed, does it feel calm? You’re probably happy. Remember, happiness doesn’t come from anywhere but inside. If you are in tune with what is right for you, you will be happy. If you are trying to live someone else’s definition of authentic happiness, you probably won’t be.
Can anyone have authentic happiness all the time? Yes! Well, OK, if a terrible tragedy strikes, you probably won’t be happy at that time. But, you can work through the tragedy and the accompanying emotions knowing that life happiness can and will return when you’ve taken time to properly allow healing. Otherwise, yes. You can be happy all the time. Maybe not jumping up and down and laughing happy every moment, but peaceful content happy, certainly, and that’s equally valuable. Life’s small irritants come and go each and every day. We have a choice whether we greet them with a calm smile or with an angry frown. Either is fine, but the calm smile will help you navigate life in a more happy state of being, and help you find happiness on a consistent basis. Remember, the art of happiness has a lot to do with perception.
Recent research on happiness shows what many of us have long suspected. Happiness, and the pursuit of happiness has more to do with an individual’s perception and what’s going on inside that person, than money, fame, or power. Even though those things may bring a feeling that is like happiness, it is attached to those things. Authentic happiness seems to be much more attached to how a person looks at life. Fortunately, if you find yourself with a constant “glass half empty” outlook, you can teach yourself to have a “glass half full” attitude and gain happiness.