Things and conditions may give you pleasure but not long-lasting happiness. Gifts and laughter might cause joy in you but not long-lasting happiness. Gratitude and compassion could lead to satisfaction but not to long-lasting happiness.
What does happiness mean, then? What is the true value of that undefinable term? Let me give you my own definition.
Imagine you go to the movies. You come in feeling happy and well. The movie you’re watching is a very dramatic, sad story and you’re soon in tears. Does that mean you’re suddenly UN-happy? No. It only means that you’re feeling momentarily sad. You exit the theater and you’re back to your old, happy self, aren’t you? Even if it takes a little while.
Happiness is not momentary, transient joy or pleasure alone, either, because you can laugh at a clown and still feel sad inside, can’t you?
To me, happiness is the distillation of many things into one at a given moment. Happiness means that your 5 basic human needs are satisfied (see my previous post on the 5 BASIC HUMAN NEEDS) here and now. You look at your life and feel that your 5 needs (security, love, growth, significance and adventure) are met to an acceptable level. Thus, life has meaning and is rewarding, even if you’re not actually laughing right now, even if you’re not really feeling any special joy. You’re a happy human being.
Happiness is therefore not what I have or how I feel but a mixture of both. Happiness is the sum value of everything we hold in our personal spheres. If the result is positive, we feel like we’re living happy lives. If the result is negative, something is missing from the equation.
Is your life worth living? Are you a happy human being? If you are, congratulations! If you’re not, which of your needs is not being satisfied? Go for it!
Enjoy life, ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart, humanology. www.jessicajlockhart.com