Can we all be happy
Wikipedia defines happiness as “a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment satisfaction, pleasure or joy”. The problem with this is it is difficult to apply quantative measures to this definition. So if you are trying to decide if you are happy today, there is no measurement that you can make. This is particularly true if you are trying to see if you are happy compared to the rest of the population.
Another definition of happiness is that: Happiness is not a destination but rather a method of travelling and this seems to get nearer the mark. It is suggesting that happiness is a changing state and we can compare how happy we are today to how happy we were yesterday.
The phrase: are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person, highlights the problem with comparison of happiness between people. There seem to be no end points for a happiness scale or certainly no shared end points. Perhaps then we will have most success if we measure our happiness against ourselves rather than against others. Thus it would be possible to have a happy tramp and an unhappy millionaire, they both have their own quite independent scales and they measure their happiness on that scale.
With this knowledge what can we say about ourselves, can we be happy? Well perhaps the first question is to understand our personal scale of happiness. What makes us unhappy, what makes us happy? If you were not limited in anyway what would make you happy? This would be the high point and the low point would be the absence of these things.
Where are you in that scale? Perhaps you would describe yourself as happy. Perhaps as you think about it you think that in fact you are happy in some areas of your life and less so in others. People often categorise their lives and look at their performance in each: for example health, family, friends, spirituality, finance and so forth.
As you do this reflective work it is possible to imaging moving from where you find yourself toward the point that you have defined as the happiest that you can be. However, having defined the journey you might be wonder how best to proceed. Some of the key things that have helped other people are:
Have a plan and know what you are aiming at. It is much easier to be happy if you know what that is, otherwise you risk a wasted journey
Try to take small steps toward happiness you can get happier each day. Taking one giant leap is difficult and the risk is much greater of failure. Better to have a series of successes.
Don’t forget to enjoy the moment that you are in now. When we are striving for something new and better we often forget to enjoy what is going on around us.
Share and get support for your plans, those around you can help especially if your plans involve changes in your life. It is also possible to use a counsellor or a coach to help you
The process can seem complex but ultimately if you think about what will make your life better and happier, it allows you to make appropriate change in your life. Can you be happy? – Yes! Good Luck.
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