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In Pursuit Of Happiness

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” - Dalai Lama crack

Happiness could well be claimed to be the master life skill; indeed, the one that everyone pursues. To be happy is in fact is one of our most basic and fundamental desires. So if everyone has always wanted it – and if everyone is actively seeking it – why doesn’t everybody have it?

We all have our own version of what we think would constitute true happiness. Some feel that it hinges on material possessions or personal health. Others feel that happiness is directly linked to the quality of our relationships, or that it depends on our circumstances.

We are taught at a very young age that we are to seek out happiness, yet no one really knows what that is. When we are children, our concept of happiness is minimal. As years pass, our concept of happiness becomes much more expansive. We are schooled to think that if we succeed at something, whether it is at a career, college or in relationships, we are seeking to be happy. Some people seek out happiness through religion, or a spiritual leader, It seems that everyone has their own idea as to what makes them happy. It becomes ingrained in us that seeking happiness is the point of our existence.

To find happiness, then, we will be living a complete life. What makes happiness – or, better yet, where happiness exists – is a question that has been pondered by many great thinkers.

Aristotle, the great philosopher, believed that happiness was the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. He believed that we choose happiness always for itself, and never for the sake of something else. It is the end at which all virtuous actions aim. It must be some good, or set of goods that, in itself, makes it worth living.

According to Immanuel Kant, the road map towards happiness is not as black and white. Kant thought that the means to happiness could not be clearly known. Kant believed there was too much ambiguity in defining personal happiness, thus making it unsuitable as a basis for morality. Kant holds that the pursuit of a person’s own happiness or interest is of no moral worth whatsoever. Kant insists that we can never determine whether an action is good or right by considering its effects on one’s happiness.

Many of us chase happiness by acquiring material goods, however scientific studies support the age-old saying that “money doesn’t buy happiness”. Psychologists David Myers and Ed Diener find that “happiness grows less from the passive experience of desirable circumstances than from involvement in valued activities and progress toward one’s goals”.

Psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar, in his book Happier, defines happiness as “the overall experience of pleasure and meaning”. Ben-Shahar describes happiness as the ultimate currency, the end to which all other ends lead, and he says happiness is the indicator by which we measure our lives.

For most of us, happiness is that pleasant feeling we get when life is good. The happiness emotion might be anywhere in the range of feelings from contentment to joy, but we know it when we see it, and we like it.
Psychologist Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, defines a formula for happiness:

H = S + C + V

… where S is one’s happiness set point, C constitutes one’s life circumstances, and V is a factor representing a person’s voluntary activities. S, a combination of genetic disposition and cultural upbringing, is largely out of our control. C, one’s life circumstances, may also be difficult to change.

But V is where we have total control and opportunity. The activities in which we engage and the ways we choose to think about our lives offer each of us the opportunity for greater happiness. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Psychologists suggest that happiness is not a destination, but a process. Rather than viewing life as a period of necessary hardship and struggle with the promise of happiness at retirement or beyond, we can reasonably strive to find happiness every day of our lives.

Tal Ben-Shahar suggests that we not ask ourselves if we’re happy, but that the better question is “How can I become happier?”. This implies there is always the possibility for greater positive feelings, confirming the spiritual teachings of Abraham, urging us to continuously reach for a better feeling in order to attract the good things of life.

Here are few tips and pearls of wisdom to help you to BE happy.....

• The first step in being happy is simply to choose to BE happy

• Be limitlessly in love with your life.

• You get out of Life what YOU put into it.

• In finding Happiness for others, you will find it for yourself.

• Bring Happiness to others without harming yourself, and bring happiness to yourself without harming others. Balance is key.

• Be kinder than you have to be.

• Be tough-minded, but tender-hearted.

• Never pass up the opportunity to tell someone you love them or to rescue a friend in need. Besides, you never know when you will need a strong shoulder or a helping hand.

• Love unconditionally. Laugh uncontrollably. Smile endlessly. Live limitlessly.

• Expand your boundaries by PUSHING YOUR LIMITS.

• Find your sense of purpose and be comfortable in your own skin, and all of your problems will resolve themselves.

• Your eyes provide sight and your heart provides you with insight. For God’s sake, listen to your heart.

• It is calmest before the storm and darkest before the dawn. Expect the unexpected, or, ultimately, expect nothing at all. Take it as it comes. You will never be Let down.

• Moving on does not necessarily mean leaving behind – we all know we can carry people and experiences with us throughout a lifetime.

• Remember mistakes aren’t mistakes at all – merely learning experiences – the stepping stones to strength and mastery.

• Anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else – you are the one who ends up getting burned.

• Finding humour in any situation is your ultimate key to happiness.

• You can never truly appreciate the light if it doesn’t ever get dark.

• Take the long, scenic route every chance you get, and realise that time is what life is made of – it is not to be rushed or squandered.

• Worry not about the past – it is gone; and worry not about the future – it will happen soon enough.

“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold. The feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.”