- What It Really Means to Be Happy
- 1. It isn’t a feeling; it’s a relationship to life
- 2. It requires a willingness to know the truth
- 3. You have to be willing to feel pain.
- 4. It has nothing to do with whether or not people you.
- 5. It’s what most people are pretending to be
- 6. You can’t look for it anywhere outside of yourself
- 7. It’s what babies see when they look in the mirror.
- 8. You can’t buy it, drink it, or recycle it
- 9. True happiness reveals itself through love
- Happiness: What Does it Really Mean to Be Happy?
- Gathering Data
- Social Factors
- Investing in Children
- What It Means to Be Happy
- What Does It Mean to Be Happy?
What It Really Means to Be Happy
“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life.” ~Mandy Hale
Everyone wants to be happy, but not many people contemplate whether or not they really are.
Some of us feel too privileged to not be happy, while others don’t want to face the possibility that we might not be. Here are nine truths about happiness to help you think a little more deeply about what it really means.
1. It isn’t a feeling; it’s a relationship to life
To be human means that we experience a range of emotions. If you were to look at a grid and see a line in the shape of a wave it would be an accurate representation of the human experience.
We shouldn’t be operating as an even, straight line. That’s what I’d call a robot or someone numbed out.
Human beings experience emotions in response to life circumstances. That means sometimes you’re going to feel happy, sad, and all the other emotions in between. Embrace it.
True happiness is not a state; it’s the way we relate to our lives.
If we’re rooted in unconditional love for ourselves, the world around us transforms.
We have the ability to express gratitude for all experiences in life. We’re able to sit with difficult emotions without denying ourselves love. We’re able to be with ourselves and with the world in a way that shapes our overall perception of our lives to one of love and gratitude. This is the path to happiness.
2. It requires a willingness to know the truth
I once felt guilty for not being happy. I felt I had no right not to be happy. After all, I was born into a loving family, I was fed, I was loved, and I was educated. I had so much more than so many people on this planet.
And then I woke up the truth that I was, in fact, not happy, and to deny that didn’t change the truth.
I realized that my relationship to myself was the source of my unhappiness. I lived under the illusion that I loved myself by avoiding contemplating whether or not I did. I was able to see that I couldn’t actually be happy until I learned to love myself as I am.
We have to wake up to our own underlying truths. Anything you’re lying to yourself about is holding you back from true happiness.
3. You have to be willing to feel pain.
True happiness isn’t the expression of happy chemicals floating through our brains. True happiness comes from the willingness to face ourselves. Only through some of my most painful experiences have I come to live in true happiness.
When I was willing to sit in the despair of my lost love, when I was willing to face the truth that I had become numb from feeling, and when I did the difficult work of healing I came out the other side. Sometimes I felt lighter, but always with a deeper understanding of who I am.
4. It has nothing to do with whether or not people you.
Doesn’t it feel great when people you? It’s the high school experience I always dreamed of. As I got older and more comfortable with myself, I seemed to attract amazing people into my life. I loved them and they loved me.
And then someone slipped through the cracks, and I experienced someone not liking me again. It stings, right?
No one s not being d. But it also wasn’t my problem.
As long as you’re good with who you are deep down and as long as you’re facing yourself each day, it’s not your problem if someone else doesn’t you. It’s their problem, because more often than not people are reflecting their relationship to themselves.
When someone doesn’t you it doesn’t threaten your happiness. Your happiness is yours. It’s your relationship to yourself and your own life. What another person thinks about you can sting, but it doesn’t have to change how you feel about yourself.
5. It’s what most people are pretending to be
Comparing yourself to anyone else is not only futile but also irrelevant. Your concern should be to uncover your own truth and live according to that.
When you try to be someone else, you are trying to live according to what you think it means to be happy them. And the unfortunate truth is that most people are pretending to be happy.
They may gloat about their successes or perceived achievements. But true happiness is a vibration that is undeniable and needs no proving.
6. You can’t look for it anywhere outside of yourself
You will never find true happiness if you take out a flashlight and start searching. There is not one single thing outside of ourselves this will cultivate true happiness. Nothing. Not another human being whether it be a partner, parent, or child.
The only place true happiness can emerge from is through the self. We can experience moments of joy and bliss in relationship to other human beings, but true happiness is a result of your connection to your own truth.
Once you’ve awakened to that, all of your relationships will be more vibrant.
7. It’s what babies see when they look in the mirror.
I have six younger siblings. Years ago, I remember my three year old sister looking at herself in the mirror. When I asked her if she thought she was beautiful, her eyes lit up as she looked at herself, and without a doubt, without hesitation, she said yes.
Children are not yet tainted by the judgments of our world. They see that beauty is not physical, that it’s an essence. They look at themselves without judgment.
It’s the same relationship to self we now have to cultivate. We have to learn to let go of the judgments of others in order to see the truth of who we are: that we are, in fact, that same beautiful baby.
8. You can’t buy it, drink it, or recycle it
True happiness is not a book you can read, lipstick you can wear, or act you can do. It’s almost ineffable. It’s most definitely not any of the things our culture has attempted to brainwash us into believing it is.
It’s something you have to discover for yourself. It’s something you have to be willing to work hard to uncover. A good place to start would be to let go of all of the ideas that things and ideas are what will bring you to true happiness.
9. True happiness reveals itself through love
In our moments of great deliberation we have two choices: love or fear. Love is not often the easy choice. Love can challenge us. It can make us feel uneasy. Love can actually elicit deep pain.
Fear is the easy escape route. It’s the choice to express anger instead of vulnerability. It’s the choice to hide instead of face the pain. It’s the decision to push someone away instead of embrace them.
True happiness will always be at arm’s distance when you choose fear. Choosing love, especially when it’s difficult, is the path to accessing true happiness.
True happiness is an unwavering connection to your own truth. It’s is a connection to the soul, to the deepest part of ourselves that screams out for us to listen.
You always have the choice to align yourself with it because your soul is always communicating with you. It’s happening now as you read this. Are you listening?
Smiling woman image via Shutterstock
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Happiness: What Does it Really Mean to Be Happy?
Happiness is often a word that is hard to define; it means something different to every individual person, as we all have distinctive and unique requirements. However, according to the latest World Happiness Report recently published by the United Nations in partnership with Columbia University, there are many common denominators that determine whether someone is happy or not.
The nature of happiness, and the fact that it is an emotion not particularly easy to measure, might have some people wondering about the validity of trying to calculate how happy a country, and its inhabitants are.
However, the people behind the report, including world-leading experts across the fields of economics, psychology, public policy, health and survey analysis, have carried out extensive research to discover what makes people happy.
Using a mixture of science, psychology and collected data, the report offers a real view of what constitutes happiness, and which countries are achieving the most.
The report focuses on how people are feeling in general and how they evaluate their life as a whole, rather than transient opinions on any one particular day; using a “ladder” ranking system, participants were asked to rate aspects of their life on a scale of one to ten.
The information was gathered by Gallup and involved between 2,000 and 3,000 socially diverse delegates from each participating country. Along with neuro-scientific research, the collected data reveals how life expectancy, standard of living, freedom to make choices, social stability (both family and national), and income, all influence how happy someone is.
Trust plays a massive part in how happy someone perceives themselves to be. The report indicated that stability, both nationally and individually, is incredibly influential in affecting how happy a person is.
Additionally, having a sense of freedom over making life choices is also extremely important.
It is therefore no surprise that war-torn, undemocratic, corrupt or oppressed countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Togo come at the very bottom of the happiness rating scale.
Additionally, having close personal relationships with family and friends, and a sense of identifying with the community that surrounds you (feeling that you have someone you can count on), as well as benevolence, empathy and trust of one another, all increase happiness.
In fact, if there is a strong level of trust for the people that surround you, and govern the country, a land can deem themselves happy despite adverse situations.
For example, Iceland, a country which has experienced huge difficulties in recent years, but has very strong, deep-rooted social bonds, still consider themselves happy (they are second in the rankings).
This is due to their extraordinary sense of camaraderie and the trust they feel towards each other, and have for their country in general.
We’ve all heard the old adage about money not making you happy, but the report seems to show that this isn’t entirely true: there is also a huge correlation between GDP per capita and life satisfaction.
While the inhabitants of a poorer country might not necessarily value money and material possessions high in the ranks of what constitutes happiness in their minds, in general, those that live in richer countries, seem to be the happiest.
As well as having an adequate amount of money, it appears that being generous with it is a large contributory factor of happiness; for example, those that donate regularly to charity or help out friends in need, state higher levels of happiness.
Investing in Children
The report highlights that the experiences people have during childhood have a direct result on how happy they become as adults, emphasizing that all of us must do everything possible to ensure children are taken care of and positively influenced. They state, “Giving more priority to the well-being of children is one of the most obvious and positive and cost-effective ways to invest in future world happiness.”
The World Happiness Report reveals some pretty unsurprising data about how prosperity can greatly influence happiness, but it also shows some aspects that we might not immediately consider as important factors in being cheerful and content.
For example, the value we put on social interaction, along with the freedom to make our own choices, without fear of persecution.
Trust appears equally as important; feeling we can put faith in each other, as well as our governments, seems crucial to overall happiness, both on an individual basis and as a nation as a whole.
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What It Means to Be Happy
Happiness is an attitude. | Source
Happiness is a state of being. A person who is truly happy knows how to be happy regardless of the circumstances of his or her life.
A happy person is able to reconcile himself or herself to the realities of his or her life. In this manner, someone who is truly happy is happy because he or she chooses to be happy. A happy person values happiness and goes to any length to maintain his or her state of equanimity at all times.
Almost nobody ever explicitly believes that he or she is unworthy of happiness. However, below the surface, many people believe their past actions have brought them to a situation where being happy is more a luxury than a necessity.
Do not be such a person! You are worthy of happiness. This regardless of hoe low you think you have sunk in behavioural terms. You are meant to be valued by others and by yourself.
Being in high spirits is every person's right. No one can snatch it away from anyone else. It is a right as basic as having a roof over one's head or food to eat.
If anyone ever even remotely suggests that you do not deserve to be happy because of your past actions, know that he or she is wrong. Beware of him or her.
Beating oneself up is an action performed by someone who sorely lacks self esteem. A person who beats himself or herself up (emotionally of course) has unreasonable expectations of his or her life.
Don't beat yourself up. Encourage yourself. If you fail, you are not a failure. You are only a non-success. This is the proven approach used by American mountaineer Ed Viesturs. This approach has helped him climb all 14 of the world's 8000 metre peaks without taking any unreasonable risks.
Happy people value themselves for who they are. They do not have unreasonable standards in their minds that they want to attain. They know, for a fact, that they are capable individuals in their own unique ways. Even when others don't seem to notice the value in them, truly-happy people do! That's one of the things that keeps them happy.
Love and happiness are closely tied up. It takes a lot of courage to love someone regardless of his or her faults and shortcomings. This kind of courage comes pretty easy to someone who is comfortable and happy in his or her own skin.
Truly, it takes a person of confidence to love unconditionally. Someone who has his or her hands full fighting his or her mental or emotional demons will not have the bandwidth to make allowances to love someone else deeply.
People who are truly happy know that they must value those around them. They are always sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of those around them. They know that someone who keeps hurting the feelings of those around him or her on purpose can never be truly fulfilled in life.
People who live fulfilling lives know that addictions can be crippling They know better than to give in to unbridled hedonism. Of course, people in general, those who lead fulfilling lives also struggle with their desires for pleasure and the need for a dopamine high. However, they are always conscious of where they stand at a personal level.
People who lead fulfilled lives tend to have positive self talk. They constantly keep encouraging themselves to do better. A self-fulfilled person never pulls himself or herself down by allowing negative or debilitating thoughts rule the mind's roost. He or she knows is acutely aware of his or her value as the only such individual present on the face of our planet.
A happy person does not complicate things for himself or herself. He or she knows that living in the moment is critical to having a truly satisfying experience of life. He or she knows that the best way to be is to simply be.
Don't overthink it! | Source
Truly satisfied people generally know better than to allow stress to build up. However, when it does seem to become a bother, they know how to get rid of it through methods such as exercise, meditation, travel, pursuing a hobby, etc.
Selflessness is seriously underrated. Happiness multiplies when it is shared. Merry people are well aware of this fact of life and constantly use it to their advantage. They know that we, as people, are community-oriented creatures and need constant communication and reassurance.
Give a hug to someone in need of it today! | Source
What Does It Mean to Be Happy?
In this context, we rarely think about what the word happy really means. If you are a native speaker of English, then you probably assume that you know what it means to be happy.
You probably also assume that people around the world share a similar idea of what it means to be happy (though they may differ in what makes them happy).
Finally, you probably believe that the general concept of happiness has been similar for humans for eons (though, again, the particular things that might have made people happy a few thousand years ago are not the same as the things that make people happy now).
A fascinating paper by Shigehiro Oishi, Jesse Graham, Selin Kesebir, and Iolanda Costa Galinha in the May, 2013 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin explores what it means to be happy both across cultures/languages and over time within the United States.
This work demonstrates that there are big differences across cultures in what the term happiness means. There has also been a drift in the meaning of happiness for Americans over the past 200 years.
To explore the meaning of the term happy, the researchers collected the term (or sometimes terms) for happiness that are used in 30 different countries.
Many of these countries represented different languages (French in France, Chinese in China), but there were several countries in which there was a common language (English is spoken in both Australia and the United States; Spanish is spoken in Argentina, Ecuador, and Spain).
They got these terms from informants who provided the best word (or words) used to describe the concept of happiness. The researchers also provided their sense of the most authoritative dictionary in that country.
Research assistants than explored aspects of the meaning of the words for happiness across languages.
A striking observation is that in 24 of the 30 countries, there was a strong element of luck associated with the meaning of the term happiness.
In English used in the United States, there is minor use of the term to mean luck (“That was a happy accident.”), but generally happiness in the US refers to an individual emotional state.
Other countries also had a component of the meaning of happiness that referred to the positive emotional state.
Another interesting observation from this analysis was that the further countries are from the equator, the more that the luck aspect of happiness emerges. The authors speculate that in colder climates, the environmental conditions play a bigger role in success and well-being than in milder climates.
Two other analyses examined changes in the use of the term happy in English over the past few hundred years. One analyses demonstrated that the use of the words happy and happiness in State of the Union addresses by US presidents has declined over the years.
In addition, there has been a shift. In the 1800s, when Presidents talked about happiness, they were referring to luck and prosperity.
By the mid-to-late 1900s, though when Presidents talked about happiness, they were referring to the positive emotion of satisfaction.
A second analysis looked at how often books in the United States talked about a happy nation versus a happy person. That is, if happiness is a circumstance associated with luck and prosperity, then we should talk about it in reference to groups the country. If happiness is an internal emotional state, then we should talk about it related mostly to people.
To explore this question, the researchers searched for the phrases happy nation and happy person in the books in English books published in the United States in the Google digital database between 1800 and 2008.
In 1800, people were much more ly to talk about a happy nation than a happy person. The number of references to a happy nation decreased steadily throughout the 1800s, and by 1900, it was relatively rare. Starting in about 1925, there was an uptick in the use of the term happy person.
There are two interesting aspects to these data analyses.
First, there has been a shift in the US from a focus on happiness as a state that is caused from the outside through luck and prosperity to an internal emotional state that is under the control of the person.
Second, the view that happiness involves strong elements of external forces luck is still common around the world, even if it is not common in the United States.
This issue is important, because much of the scientific world uses English as the basis for describing key psychological states and processes. If English is a little quirky in the way that it uses one of these terms, that can have a profound influence on what science believes it should be studying.
Finally, even if you are not a scientist, it is important to realize that there are many components to happiness. If you are feeling sad, then you may be prone to focus on what is wrong with you that makes you unhappy. When you realize the role that life situations play in happiness, though, it helps you to see how changing your environment can also change your outlook on life.
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