Happiness - Is There A Common Definition

by Byron Pulsifer, © 2018

Definition of Happiness

Happiness is defined as a feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. Synonyms include cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial, jolly, jocular, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling, beaming, grinning, in good spirits, in a good mood, lighthearted, pleased, contented, content, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous, and beatific.

Cheerfulness can also relate to those feelings that are associated with certain emotions or to the satisfaction with what one has accomplished throughout a lifetime or the simple appreciation of a particular moment in time experienced in the quietness of sitting beside a babbling brook immersed in nature.

What is a sense of being in good spirits for one does not need to or is always comparable to someone else. This is a simple truth of life that what one thinks is not necessarily what another thinks. This is certainly true if you utilize the definitions of happiness of a philosopher, an actor or a minister or a man or woman walking down a street. Everyone within a block radius of a town or city will undoubtedly offer their own unique definition of what being contented means. The following five inspirational quotes from various famous people, cited below, will attest to the varied definitions of happiness as it applies to their life.

"I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense." Harold Kushner

"The secret to life is to love who you are - warts and all." David DeNotaris

"As I go through all kinds of feelings and experiences in my journey through life - delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay - I hold this question as a guiding light: "What do I really need right now to be happy?" Sharon Salzberg

"There are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make you stronger." Eric Bates

"The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he's dead." Bette Davis


Is One To Feel Good All The Time?

Some people might argue that a person using some form of a narcotic legal or otherwise makes them feel euphoric every day? If feeling good all the time were the one main aspect of life whether that state of being delighted is relative to reality or whether it is one that is induced, the answer may be positive. However, that which is induced through a chemical means does not reflect on what humankind would be able to sustain. What a chemically induced state of mind produces, however, is not one that is balanced or what one might call as psychologically healthy because what is elevated must at some point decline or fall.

The significant question, furthermore, is whether an unrealistic state of mind is a life worth living. In addition, when you ask people what makes their lives worth living, it is not an answer that suggests happiness has anything to do with a mood. In fact, most people would respond to any question of what produces a sense of glee answering that it is related more to things that are meaningful or worth being engaged in or in their relationships with others including their family, friends and co-workers.

On the other hand, if one is asked to define happiness devoid of experiences that are troubled, there can be no comparison because there is nothing to which one can compare. This is the same intention if one is asked to describe the color blue when all that has been experienced is the color white. Therefore, the question that remains is can joyfulness be defined without experiencing unhappiness?

Is Pleased With Life Being Able To Afford Anything You Want? And,
Is Being Dissatisfied With Life Not Being Able To Afford What You Desire?

While living below the poverty line certainly makes it hard to be carefree, beyond that, money does not appear to buy gratification.

However, if we continue in the same vein, at what point does having sufficient money to buy what you want change from being happy to being unhappy? Or, in other words, at what point does the mere possession of a new car, the latest and greatest gadgets, the biggest or best home and all of the other exotic material articles cease to provide feelings of being in a good mood?

To answer this question, one must be able to define a state of bliss beyond the simple possession of goods. Why is this the case? Simply put, amassing articles, goods, possessions and all that you desire never reaches a point where what one has is ever enough. The shallowness of possessions stems from the core answer to what is happiness. To those who have whatever they want always ends with elevating additional wants because no earthly possession can ever satisfy or fulfill what it means to be gratified.

It Is Not A Final Destination But A Journey

The question of "have we reached happiness yet" can be applied to discussions of contentment, as if a person can reach a specific place where ultimate pleasure, or that which pleases, resides. Contrary to popular thinking, however, there is no ultimate state called "happiness". The reality is that to always be in good spirits cannot be purchased, won, or attained as a final destination but, instead, is an on-going application of personal worth. That worth is invested more in what you contribute to others than in what you can buy.

The recording of "joyous moments" should alert everyone to the reality that being full of good cheer is but a fleeting moment in time. However, the good news is that these moments of happiness are reproducible when you are able to offer others part of your own worth whether that be in service to others or through helping sponsor organizations that devote their resources to reduce the negative aspects of life.

The quest for that which is radiant and pleasing is a constant process of working towards the reduction or eliminating negative influences in the lives of those who are in your immediate sphere of influence. If each person adopted the same definitional process of contentment, that sphere of influence would permeate the world.

Happiness And Its Core Ingredients

Happiness is:
- a state of well-being that includes a healthy mind and physically well body;

- the opportunity to experience joy through love

- the freedom to experience foundational relationships within family including close friends

- the willingness to approach life as an adventure where failure is the greatest teacher onwards to achievements

- the insight to understand that each person is worthy and that each person has a purpose in life

- the ears to hear what others need putting their needs before your wants

- the ability to respond positively to life's negative events so that others may be encouraged also.



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