Tuesday, 7 February 2012

So, what IS happiness?

I went back and reviewed my first posts and it brought me back to one of my original questions; what is happiness?

Is it just a feeling?  If it is, it's probably not a very good goal because, ultimately, that's pretty selfish and is therefore not likely to lead anywhere particularly good.

But when I think of happiness, I'm not referring just to a feeling.  And I think I'm using the term to encompass a whole bunch of similar words: contentment, positivity, smiling, joy, satisfaction, high self-esteem.  I envisage a sense of rightness and comfort with oneself and the world.  And I suspect this is impossible as an entirely selfish goal - a sense of rightness and comfort seems to inherently require positive and selfless interactions with others.

I started researching the substance of happiness one night and writing some stuff down, but it felt like I was researching and writing an academic paper.  In itself, that's not a bad thing.  But it didn't meet the need that I have in asking the question.  It only engaged my academic brain, not my creativity, emotions, tactile skills (unless you count typing)... it just didn't satisfy as a way of answering my question.

But because I was so annoyed about the process, I didn't answer the question.  And I think that's because ultimately I can't answer the question.  Because everyone just seems to understand what you mean when you say "happiness", and "happiness" looks completely different to each person!  One person may find happiness in pottering around in the garden all day, while another would find that uncomfortable and would be happy on a computer for the same time.

So I guess what I really need to ask myself (and I think I'm a little afraid of the answers, which is why I haven't stopped long enough to answer it yet), is what makes me happy?  What does happiness look like for me?  If I could change my world in any and every way, what would it look like if I was really happy, content, satisfied?

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