Tuesday 7 February 2012

What is happiness?

I thought we should start with first things first, and by that I mean, what is happiness anyway?
 So many of us would agree we are searching for happiness, but how many of us have stopped to consider what happiness might mean to us personally? So it's probably a good question for us all to ponder.
There are many theories and thoughts out there. For example, the dictionary offers us this:
"good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy."
Before offering us a range of synonyms like bliss, delight, exhilaration.
But I'm not sure that's a fully satisfactory answer. For me anyway. Nor one that I necessarily agree with actually.
Happiness, like all things, means different things to all of us, and rightly so given it's a truly personal state.  For example, and roughly speaking, younger generations are more likely to equate happiness with excitement while older generations tend to link it more closely with peace.  So to try to achieve somebody else's version of happiness would be entirely missing the point and not lead us to anything like real happiness anyway.
But to kick things off,  I'll tell you what (I think) it means to me.
To me, the synonyms the dictionary gives us feel sightly off-kilter, they feel a bit too active and lively for what happiness really means to me. To me happiness is a much softer, slower and relaxed state.
To me, happiness is less frantic than fun, more comfortable than content and more substantial than safe. It is more joyous than joy, more peaceful than pleasure and a lot more in our own hands than something like 'good fortune' would have us believe. It's less exciting than exhilaration, more satisfying than satisfaction and certainly more down to earth than 'bliss'.
Really, I think it's all of these things. And more. And less.
I think for me being happy is just being, and not wishing it to be any other way.
Why not spend some time really considering what happiness means to you. Once you know that, it will be much easier to find.

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