So you want to Find Happiness. But where is it? Read and you may find out.
We look here. We look there. We are told that it must come from within, not from outside ourselves. Yet we mostly look to the outside.
What is happiness anyway? Is it a state of euphoria where we feel on top of the world and invincible as when you win an Olympic gold medal? Is it a gentle, warm feeling of contentment as when you are gently held by your lover? Is it a feeling of satisfaction of a job well done?
It is all of those, and more and less.
I remember back in the 1970's and 1980's when there were many plaques, posters and figurines proclaiming "Happiness is...." "a warm puppy" "a child's' laughter" "a hot bath", "a fast car", "a good friend", "love", "peace". Plug in almost anything and it could be considered "Happiness".
Happiness is a feeling. Feelings are very subjective. While it is a universal concept across all countries and cultures, it is still very individualistic. It is created by our views toward something.
A warm puppy isn't going to make you happy if you dislike animals. Getting a promotion isn't going to make you happy if you are scared to death of the additional responsibilities so that you can't sleep and get ulcers.
Happiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So yes, to find happiness, you must look within. You must observe what gives you a feeling of happiness.
Some say you can only find happiness if you give your life over to God, Jesus, Mohammed, or even humanity. You can feel some very strong pleasant feelings from these.
You can get some very strong pleasant feeling from giving to others, whether that's cutting the lawn for your elderly neighbor or helping in a homeless shelter, or choosing just the right gift for someone.
Is that happiness?
I think to find happiness means to have mostly good feelings about your life. That is, that things are going well, no big problems, many occasional moments of pleasure, and some really good high points.
That seems like it shouldn't be too hard to achieve, but it is quite elusive.
The same general activity can produce very different feelings even from the same person. I experience flow when I'm writing the first draft. I experience resistance when I re-write it for publication.
Lately, I have been focusing on writing for publication with the first draft. I have an aversion to doing something over again. I want it right the first time. As a result, I was losing my motivation to write anything, because of the focus to make my writing completely understandable I didn't experience the pleasure of getting my thoughts down.
My focus was on correctness not content, therefore my feelings toward the writing was negative. Negative feelings meant negative motivation. Once I decided to just write my thoughts down and re-arrange/re-write later I started to zoom through it. I was happy.
The re-write is still a pain, but the pleasure in writing the first draft gives me enough of a boost to go to the next step. And I always come up with more to write, more thoughts to put down.
Then there's the sense of satisfaction I know I'll have when it's done and published that keeps me going too. And besides, no mater how much care I take with the first draft, I will still need a re-write.
You can't find happiness in your savings account. My mother would say "money can't buy happiness". My brother would reply "No it can't. But it sure makes it a lot easier to find."
Well, Maybe. You've probably heard stories of lottery winners ending up worse off after winning than before. These are probably people who tied all their happiness to money, not realizing that happiness is more in the doing than the having.
I think that people need to feel they have EARNED the good feeling. I'm sure we all know the stories of 'poor little rich kid' who has everything money can buy but is an empty shell of a person. The 'playboy' that runs from one party or bed partner to another, trying to find himself. Find Happiness.
Think about the feeling of buying your first car. The happiness you felt if you worked and saved to buy an old clunker would be higher than that felt if your parents bought it for you, even if what they bought was much better. All because of what you put into it.
All of this means that happiness is really an attitude. A point of view. If you think about and focus on what is missing or bad you will be un-happy. If you think about what is good or what is available, you will be happy.
Don't focus negative attention on what or how much hasn't gotten done. Think about what has been done and be grateful, happy, appreciative. Sometimes, when I'm feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to do, I review my to-do list for 'done' items to remember how far I've gotten. This makes me feel better.
With that said, I don't thing you can't find happiness in adopting a positive mental attitude or thinking positive.
Happiness is much more than positive thinking. It is positive believing.
I think there are many different aspects to happiness and all are necessary to a happy life.
I find happiness in a 4 prong approach.
I can find happiness in reasons to smile. When some one I am teaching finally grasps the concept, I am happy and smiling. Watching my grandchildren laughing makes me smile.
I find happiness in reaching a goal or appreciating all that I have. The joy of having a car all paid for. Or sometimes just a warm bed.
I find happiness when I'm ecstatic as when watching my grandchildren being born, or making a penalty shot save as a soccer goal keeper.
I seek out each of the 4 types of happiness and try not to over do any of them. A chocolate sundae is wonderful if I haven't had one in a year, but nothing special if I had one every day.
Like everything else in life, balance is important to find happiness. Read about my philosophy of happiness and a historical perspective about happiness.Finding Happiness is an important part of self improvement. Find yours today.
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What makes you happy? When do you feel happy? What do you think about happiness? Is there a distinction between Happiness and Pleasure?
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