What is happiness?
Merriam-Webster defines it like this:
1: obsolete : good fortune : prosperity
2a : a state of well-being and contentment : joy b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience
3: felicity, aptness
Examples of HAPPINESS
They made a toast to long life and happiness.
Her happiness was complete when she got her very own house
By definition, happiness is a thoroughly subjective and intangible thing. Each individual's happiness is determined by their personal expectations, experiences, and desires. With no set criteria to obtain happiness, no predetermined route, and no guidelines to ascertain whether or not you've reached it, happiness can seem elusive to those in search of it.
So how do you define happiness? How do you decide whether or not you've found it?
There are countless books written on the subject of happiness. Books written about personal journeys in search of it; books written from different religious perspectives telling you how the author believes you can best find it; and books discussing the subjectivity and perceived unattainability of it. I find the subject fascinating.
Is it possible to be happy if you're satisfied with parts of your life, but not all areas of life? Is true happiness long-term gratification or can you be truly happy living day-to-day in the here and now? Can people without God or religion find happiness? Who or what determines your personal happiness?
As I begin my own personal happiness journey, I am pondering all of these points. I also ask myself, "Why?" Why am I embarking on this personal journey? What am I hoping to learn? What am I hoping to gain? Am I currently unhappy? If so, what do I think I can do to change that?
I think that in order to gain anything from this process, I must first figure out where I stand right now. I must determine my current state of happiness. I need to identify what is triggering this personal journey and how to quantify if I've made any change. I don't think of myself as an unhappy person. But I don't really think I am at a place of satisfaction with myself and my life.
I am intolerant of my children and quick to snap when they've pushed my limits.
I don't treat my loved ones with the same respect I treat a stranger or an acquaintance.
I prefer snuggling with my dog over my boyfriend.
I am rarely able to identify things I am good at or like about me, but in a second, I could rattle off a short list of things I think I should change about myself.
I am not proud of what I do for a living. Actually, I find myself feeling embarrassed when someone I grew up with comes in and sees that I am just a bartender at the same restaurant I have worked at since I was a teen.
I don't feel I am properly motivated. Although I have a list of things I should do to better myself, I am perfectly complacent doing nothing about it.
If I were happier, would these behaviors change? Or do I need to change these behaviors to be happier?
As I read more on the subject of happiness, I am learning that the journey to a happier life is a series of steps and goals that are based solely on what is important to me. So my first step in my happiness journey will be identifying the areas in which I am least satisfied. I am discovering that happiness journeys, or happiness projects are really quite common these days and often consume the time frame of a year. I am not about to put a timeline on this at the early stage, but I do know that my lifestyle doesn't permit this journey to be a huge upheaval of what is currently my norm. So welcome to my happiness journey - tweaking my life one day at a time in the search for self-satisfaction.