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What Things Determine How Happy You Are

Updated on September 14, 2019
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Dreamworker believes that every human being deserves the right to live up to his or her full potential.

Are you happy?

Do you know what happiness is or what it is that truly brings joy to your life?

Most people don't think about these things, but in doing so they can often learn the real truth about themselves and then be able to adapt their values and lifestyles so that they can find peace.

The thought of self analyzing causes people to fear that they will learn things about themselves that they would rather not know.

However, it is only through self analysis that people can recognize flaws that may be keeping them from finding the level of happiness they seek.

We all like to think that we are good people and that our choices are correct, but if we hang onto those thoughts without exploring and probing our deeper selves we keep ourselves from advancing and improving.

The considerations below are just some that people can use to help themselves find their truths. They are very powerful and are meant to help, so it will pay you to read through them. You might be very surprised to learn that what you thought was making you happy was not doing so at all!

Learning what makes you truly happy can greatly improve your life.
Learning what makes you truly happy can greatly improve your life. | Source

Goodness Creates Happiness

Most individuals like to see themselves as being “good”. Many come to this determination by assuming that going to church regularly makes them good people. They feel that this behavior will please God and thus guarantee them a place in heaven.

However, if they attend only to please God rather than to worship and honor him by behaving in Godly ways when they are not in a house of worship, then their attendance at their church of choice basically means nothing.

If they look down on those who do not believe as they do or belittle individuals who don’t believe in attending church, they are not honoring their God. If they do not accept those who live according to their standards, they are not honoring their God.

Therefore, if you are leaning on the concept of going to church as a basis for your goodness but do not show understanding, compassion and forgiveness to your fellow man, you are kidding yourself about thinking that you are a good person.

I’ve seen many friendships and marriages end because one partner spends so much time at church that they ignore the needs of the people who love them the most.

In truth, a person can be good whether he attends church or not or even whether he believes in God or not because it is not religion that determines goodness; it is one’s behaviors and attitudes.

Good people do not cheat, lie, steal or kill. Good people accept people as they are and do not try to manipulate or change them. Good people are there for others in bad times as well as happy ones. They ask for nothing in return because the satisfaction they get from behaving in these ways is enough.

So, the question for you to answer here is whether you are truly a good person or are you kidding yourself into thinking that you are. If you’ve been kidding yourself, the good news is that you can change if you choose to do so.

Most people are partially good. Very few are totally bad. Therefore you already have a head start on making the types of improvement that will help you to be the person you wish to be.

How do you do this? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Start giving more of yourself, and try taking less.
  2. Do your part within your family to help each member as much as possible.
  3. Stop criticizing others. Look for what is good in people rather than what is bad.
  4. Do what you can to make each day better for others, such as smiling, holding a door, helping someone to carry a package or thanking someone for helping you.
  5. Don’t wait for people to ask for help, just give it to them freely.

There is a great deal of sadness, fear and loneliness in the world, so each time you reach out, you are doing something to make the pain more bearable for people. In so doing, you also are helping yourself.

Recently someone saved my life by giving me CPR after my heart had stopped. Later I thanked her profusely and said that there was nothing I could ever say or do to thank her.

She responded with "You thanked me when you took that first breath".

This is an example of a truly good person. She gave freely and wanted nothing in return.

Children are born "good", but whether they remain that way into adulthood depends on many factors.
Children are born "good", but whether they remain that way into adulthood depends on many factors. | Source

Self Giving Creates Satisfaction

Many people view themselves as being generous, but most expect to get something in return.

People who give freely never expect rewards of any kind. They are not constricted by societal rules and therefore don’t just give on special occasions or holidays. They also do not give because someone gifted them first or because they feel obligated.

There is true freedom on this, but it is a freedom that few people respect. Someone gives you a Christmas card and expects to receive one in return. If you give for this reason, you’re not really “giving”. However, if you respond in kind because you want to make the other person happy, then you are giving freely.

It is when people don’t give freely that corruption sets in. When this happens, people become beholding. In short, if they reciprocate, they have just sold themselves to the original giver.

We see this most often in politics. A new police chief receives an expensive basket of wines and fruits from a wealthy citizen. If he accepts this gift, that citizen will expect “favors” from him in the event he needs political or personal support. It’s a slippery slope that begins with small gifts and escalates to expensive ones that compromise the recipient.

This is where a person’s values come into play. How much will it take to buy him? I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who once had to walk away from a man who was offering him bribes. His excuse was that the man was “coming too close to his price”.

The bottom line here is how much you think you are worth and what would you be willing to do for the right price.

A person with good values does not give in order to receive or take regardless of price. Which one are you?

The Willingness to Self Sacrifice

Although it’s easy to make statements regarding your willingness to sacrifice yourself, actually doing so is quite another question.

  • Would you actually be willing to care for an extraordinarily sick parent, child or spouse for the rest of your life if necessary?
  • Would you sacrifice your own life to save that of someone you love?
  • Would you work endless hours on countless jobs to earn enough money to support your family?
  • Could you love another person enough to let them go knowing that their happiness would lead to your own sadness?

These are serious questions that have huge life consequences. Taking them into consideration can go a long way in letting you know just how deeply your feelings towards loved ones really go.

People do these things every day, but could you?

Doing things that help others without expecting anything in return is true self sacrifice.

When a friend or family member is ill and all you do is send a card, you have created a nice gesture but you have done little to help that person. However, if you offer to drive the person to a doctor, take him a hot meal, offer to clean his house or do his laundry, you are providing things that really help that individual, but even then, you have only sacrificed truly if you have done so out of joy and not because you felt that what you did was expected or required.

Knowing What Things Give You Joy In Life?

Many believe that happiness comes from having a lot of money, being able to travel or being financially secure. However, lots of people who feel this way are never happy because they haven’t learned that money, security and adventure do not necessarily provide happiness and contentment.

Proof of this is that some of the wealthiest people in the world are the least happy.

In truth it is the appreciation of the little things in life that bring heartfelt joy such as admiring a beautiful sky, holding a newborn child for the first time, being with the person you love most in the world, watching children play and things of similar ilk.

These things cost nothing but are worth a fortune because they are the behaviors than enrich people’s lives.

If all you worship is money, you will miss these joyous opportunities, but if you take the time to appreciate the people and things around you, you’ll be wealthy beyond belief.

I have been ill for some time, but two days ago, while my husband drove me to a doctor's appointment, I heard some birds singing. It was the most beautiful sound, and it gave me such joy. Why? Because it reminded me that there was still life out there and it gave me hope that I would be able to recover and become part of it again.

Money could never buy that feeling.

Find Your Happiness and Thrive

By taking the time to consider the determiners mentioned above, you may be able to understand more about yourself and become more realistic about how your beliefs and values are affecting your level of happiness.

Much of who you are has been determined by the experiences you have had in life and how you were raised, but this does not mean that these things are written in stone.

If you are brave enough to look within yourself, you can give yourself the strength to change and thus improve your lot in life.

Just remember that who you think you are and who you really are may be two entirely different things.

Do you see issues in this article you can use to help improve your life?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sondra Rochelle

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