What Is Happiness?

Happiness as a concept has always fascinated me. Happiness is one of those emotions that can be so vastly different amongst people. What I experience as happiness is not the same as my partner. It seems to be such a driving force in so many people now that it gets me thinking – are we just chasing happiness as a destination that we’ll never reach?

When you break it down happiness is a multitude of things. It’s the way you feel, the way you think, the way you react. It’s all about how you interact with the world and what gives you that feeling of joy.

I spent a couple of years going up and down wondering what the hell was wrong with me because I wasn’t as happy as those around me. What I came to realised is that there is absolutely no point comparing myself to someone else because I have no idea what they are really thinking or feeling. I mean, I can look at someone’s Instagram and Facebook and have this impression of their lives but we all know that the majority of people tweak their experiences to make it look much better than it probably is (check out this video and this video).

During that time I read a book called the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I thought it was fantastic. I really loved the idea and tried to emulate it but you know what? Whilst I wanted to be really passionate about the concept of making my life happier I just couldn’t get myself to get behind it. It just wasn’t for me.

I guess my issue is that so many people around me seem to be happy with what I view to be relatively minor things. Which is not a bad thing at all, but it’s something I struggle to understand. Things like receiving flowers or jewellery from a partner seem to be things that people really love and makes them really happy but I can’t say this is the case for me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it and I do like it but I wouldn’t gush about it and I wouldn’t say the feeling of happiness lasts long term.

Experiences don’t seem to change my emotions as much as seem to for others. Yes I feel happiness and yes I feel sadness but I don’t seem to go from one extreme to the other quickly or often. So how does this fit in with the concept of happiness? Are those of us who don’t experience intense emotions doomed to fail before we’ve even finished contemplating the idea of achieving it?

I find that I’m pretty aware of myself, in terms of who I am, what I expect of myself and what I expect from others and over the years I’ve learnt that what I feel about myself and my experiences shouldn’t be based on external forces, they should be based on me. And because of this I find that whilst I’m not jumping for joy every second of the day, I am in a good place where I love my family and friends and I do enjoy my life (as boring as it may seem to others) 99% of the time. Maybe that’s what happiness looks like.

In all honesty I’m not sure. I find so many people fit into the cookie cutter image of happiness but I just don’t seem to match it. But I’m ok with that. I actually really like being able to be guided by emotions rather than ruled by them. I like that I’m seen as neutral ground so that people can actually openly express themselves to me without thinking they are bringing me down when they aren’t ok and need to talk. I think there is definitely a place in the world for people like me.

What are your thoughts on happiness?

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