Welcome to Club Together. The first of many group posts where Katherine + I ask a question which fits our theme and invite others to answer.
Wikipedia defines happiness as “a mental or emotional state of well-being” and states it is characterised by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It also says that many have tried to identify its sources through a variety of biological, psychological, religious and philosophical approaches. Scientific methods have also been applied when trying to answer questions about happiness and attempting to find out how it can be attained. Such efforts suggest that it is hard to achieve or maintain happiness which really got me thinking…
How do I define happiness? How different will others definitions of happiness be to mine?
When I think about happiness my mind always strays back to a lecture I had on ‘Objective List Theories’. This is basically the view that there are things that make us happy or are good for our well-being that aren’t simply pleasurable experiences or getting what we want. So having an orgasm 400 times a day would make us happy, but not in the deeper sense of the word. Obviously the theory fails because not everyone’s list would be the same but I remember sitting there and wondering what would be on my list.
Happiness to me can be condensed into four parent categories. Love would be at the top of this list. It would include all the different types of love – Storge (family love), Philia (friendship love) and Eros (sexy love). Without these types of love in my life I don’t know where I’d be and I’m lucky enough to have them all at the moment. Autonomy would come in second. We forget how lucky we are to live in the West where we can do and say what we want and it’s something I really try not to take for granted. Then there’d be humour. I couldn’t live without laughter and if I find someone that makes me laugh then I will slowly gravitate towards them until they’re trapped in a friendship with me. Most of my DVDs are comedy ones and I’ll rewatch them until I know them word by word. Finally, it’s a toss up between cats and pizza. Just kidding – it was always cats.
Keffnote – The Public Diary
Happiness to me comes in the form of my mum and my confidence. Growing up in my teens, she was the enemy. It had seemed every time she said no to me or that I wasn’t allowed to do something she had it in for me. I never used to tell her anything and kept far away from sharing information with her, until one day she said ‘there is nothing you could tell me that would disappoint me’ or ‘there is nothing you are going through, that I haven’t already gone through’. These words stuck with me as I grew up because she was absolutely right. Her reassurance in me was constantly provided and her support was always there, no matter if she agreed or disagreed. To this day, she remains not only a mother, but a best friend who makes me happy about the slightest things. Her support defines happiness for me.
I’ve never been shy, but I’ve also never had an array of friends growing up. I quickly learnt that I wasn’t the type to keep quiet and not have an opinion, so my happiness came in the form of me talking to people and being ‘different’ or ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ as so many others had called me. I realise my confidence is my happiness, my ability to talk to people assures me that it’s not a bad thing to be weird or strange for talking a little more or having an opinion that doesn’t fit a criteria. My confidence is the key to my happiness.
The Gin Joints
In my own personal experience, I have found that to truly be happy you must first learn to love yourself. It’s so important to love yourself exactly as you are and embrace every part of you, including your flaws. This is not to say that working toward self-improvement is not important–quite the opposite. The act of working on yourself and bettering yourself alone can provide happiness.
Another main component of happiness is gratitude. If you’re not grateful for the things you have (both material and not), then you won’t be happy with more either. Take stock of the good in your life and learn to recognize negative thinking patterns before they spiral out of control. When you are feeling down, get in the habit of actively focusing on how many wonderful things for which you have to be grateful. Ultimately, I have found that happiness is choice, and learning to choose happiness allows you to become the best possible version of yourself.
Lace and Whimsy
Happiness, believe it or not, comes from strength. But strength in the form of freedom – independence. I’ve always been referred to as the happy-go-lucky one but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t had my struggles. In fact I’d even go as far as saying that I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today if I hadn’t been through them.
Everyone has or will be told that they won’t be able to do something at one point during their life. Some may even suggest that having the motivation to prove somebody wrong and being able to do it will bring them true happiness. Once you learn that other people’s insults and suggestions come from a place of ignorance or hatred, you’ll start to feel stronger and ultimately happier.
Happiness is such a strange concept. There’s no literal definition of what constitutes ‘happiness’; yet, we have all managed to develop our own subjective opinion of what is classed as ‘being happy’. All I’m sure of is that happiness must exist, because in order for sadness to – there must be an opposite. Using this perspective, I would therefore consider happiness as something that makes me feel the opposite of lonely, scared, worried, anxious; no matter how small or insignificant it may appear to be. For me, happiness is waking up each morning filling my lungs with a breath of fresh air, thankful that I am here to live and be a part of another day. Whilst my health isn’t perfect, it could be a lot worse and I’m extremely thankful for that. I’m thankful that my family are well, I have a roof over my head, enough to feed myself and a loving, supportive network that surrounds me. I think it is these things that I am so thankful for, that are the things that enable the possibility of happiness to occur.
I feel happy every time I see my friends and family smile, each time my cat snuggles up next to me or whenever I see a bunch of bright tulips or daffodils. It is these simplicities in life that can mean so much once you start to recognise them for the beauty that they are. They make my life more invigorating despite whatever else might be happening. Even though there are lots of days where I feel far away from my happy self, I just think back to the fundamentals and remember how lucky I am to be able to even experience sadness. I use it to motivate myself into becoming a better me, to be a happier me. So, in all, I would say that ‘happiness’ is merely the recognition of the simple wonders in life. It’s taking the time to notice the background things such as the trees and birds that you see and hear each day, but never really take notice off. Happiness is about taking a deep breath and to absorbing your surroundings as well as recognising that we live in what can be a beautiful world despite how awful life might seem at times. We live in a world where happiness can exist, whether that be current, anticipated or seem miles away; at least we can find happiness in noticing the possibilities there are to feel it.
Hannah Delacour – Thoughts/Beauty/Lifestyle
For me, happiness is Disney movies and magic and that perfect cup of tea, freshly made cookies and my dog and pretty nail polish. It’s those little things like people saying they miss me, or that something they saw/heard made them think of me. Even things as simple as baking and spring flowers make me happy. There are so many little things in the world that cause happiness, we just have to stop and appreciate them more.
Happiness, or the act of being happy holds different meanings to different people. Just because something that someone gets happy about seems trivial or ridiculous to you, doesn’t mean you should undermine someone else’s happiness. For a long time boy-bands made me happy, and they continue make a lot of people happy, but it’s a shame that some people don’t try to understand that. We’ve all got the goal of being happy, why should we judge what anyone on what their happiness is? As Anne Frank said: “We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same”. We all have the same ultimate goal, we should do all we can to help and encourage others to reach that.
I think social media gives waves of what the majority thinks happiness is. Festivals, starry nights, times with friends. That’s what I see people dream of on Twitter. That’s all well and beautiful but I don’t think that would make ME happy. Happiness is the journey to find out what makes you feel fulfilled.
I’ve recently heard that happiness is not a destination. It’s a series of adventures. But I think it could be a lot simpler & slower. I’m currently in this awesome state of content. I have an amazing platform to put thoughts out on, readers (which is a surprise to me), health, family and I feel loved. What else could I need? I’m in a state of happiness.
Do It For The Irony
Happiness is achieving a sense of contentment. It’s a permanent state. Happiness is coming to the place where you realise your life isn’t perfect, but you prefer to look at the cup as being half full and be grateful and appreciative for all that you have. It’s finding pleasure in making others happy. Having a positive mental attitude changes your whole life. It alters the way you perceive absolutely everything. Your mind is so powerful and is often underestimated.
Happiness is finding pleasure in the little things. It’s getting an unexpected text from a friend you haven’t spoken to for years. It’s coming home to your parents after a long spell of being away from home, and being greeted by the familiar smell of your Mum’s cooking. It’s seeing other people’s face when you do something nice for them. It’s discovering new music. It’s feeling confident when you step outside in new shoes. It’s getting a grade you’re proud of at school or university. It’s not having to set your alarm for the next morning. It’s getting so lost in a book you believe you’re actually part of the story.
Paisley & Stripes
Happiness to me is more than a mental state. It is a way of life and a way of thinking. Ever since the first time I heard Shay Carl utter the phrase ”Happiness is a choice”, I have believed that. With each day and every tough situation that you face, simply breathe and think – will this still be a problem tomorrow? In a week? In a month? There is always someone worse off than you and so appreciating the small things and putting things into perspective helps me to live a peaceful, happy lifestyle.
I suppose that being said, overall, happiness to me is: birds singing, my dogs greeting when I wake him in the morning, the cool early morning air on my face as I walk to and from work, interaction on twitter etc with sweet friends that I have never even met. A lot of people talk of a certain ‘happy place’ but where ever my positive mindset is, is where my happiness is. Out on a countryside walk, in bed reading, on the sofa with my dog watching a movie or of course at Disneyland.
Happiness, and chasing mine over the past 3 years has done a lot to change my life. I believe it can do the same for anyone.
Underland to Wonderland