Have you ever asked yourself this question? If you haven”t, perhaps you should? If you seek happiness, then you need to know what happiness is for you. I say, “for you,” because I don”t believe there is one universal definition of happiness. Happiness is a very subjective emotion, according to me. Put two people in identical situations (same amount of money, life experiences, etc.) and you can be pretty sure that they both wouldn’t feel equally happy or equally sad. Hence, it is a very subjective emotion. I believe this is so because there are two kinds of happiness. There is one happiness, which is kind of universal and then there is the other kind, which is a happiness that is very individual to each one of us. It is this happiness that I find more interesting.

The second kind of happiness that I talked about comes from our expectations out of our lives, which vary from person to person. For example, a person who expects a lot out of his/her life, may find that happiness is hard to find. They are constantly in the search for that one thing or two things in life, which always seems to elude them. Those things may be money or fame or power or any of the other pursuits that humans have, but it would be likely that such people are less likely to be happy, if their goals/obsessions are not met. In most cases, even after their goals/obsessions are met, they don’t find happiness, because they seek more – new goals, new wish lists, it’s a seemingly never-ending process for them!!

On the other hand, a person who takes life as it comes along and makes the best of each day is more likely to be happy every day. They have no self-induced pressures or goals to occupy their minds and they can derive happiness from the simple pleasures of everyday life, finding love, making time for the family and kids, seeing their kids grow, etc. So, I do think that the expectations people have of life has a bearing on how happy (or not happy) the person is going to be. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have any expectations at all. You should, but it helps to keep those expectations reasonable and manageable.

The Different Perceptions of Happiness

Culturally too, the perception of happiness can vary. Things that an individual has may be valued different by different cultures. Someone living in one country may be viewed as poor or miserable by his/her own countrymen, but from the perspective of another culture/country, they can be viewed as being privileged and have all the reasons to be happy. Also, different people may derive happiness from doing different things. For some, happiness may be derived by helping the poor and needy, whereas for others, it might be derived from spending time with their pets. Yet, for others, happiness might be just having a roof over their head and having enough food to sustain themselves through the day.

Being rich or poor doesn’t matter when it comes to happiness, because it is a frame of mind in my opinion. It is derived from our expectations out of life. If we have reasonable expectations and don”t expect the moon, I think we all can find happiness in the little things we have and should cherish. You can always aim for more and work towards getting more, but you can at the same time, enjoy what you have and find time for your most loved ones and find happiness in doing so. Money can’t buy happiness; it can at best be an enabler of happiness. One should work towards earning money, but without getting so obsessed with it that you miss out on the simple pleasures of life in your obsessive pursuit of more riches.

267 Responses to “What is Happiness for You?”

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