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Updated on November 3, 2012

Are you Happy? Can you remember how many times you have been asked that question? It seems my recollection of such an enquiry is extremely limited. Now that I think about it, I wonder why we do not find it necessary to ask another person, especially a loved one, if he/she is happy. Do we not ask the question because we really don't want to know the answer? Or could it be that we fear hearing the answer...fear that the asking might impose a degree of personal responsibility?

Someone recently asked me if I was happy. The question was laced with genuine concern, it was also unexpected, and I struggled with my answer. Happiness is an emotion I seldom think about. I don't usually ask others if they are happy, and I never ask myself if I am happy. The state of happiness is an abstract concept in my mind...emotionally complicated...unnecessary, and unattainable. Still - doesn't everyone strive for happiness? Isn't happiness the fulfillment of dreams and the thing that makes life worth living? I'm not sure. What is happiness anyway?

When I think of the word happy, it is associated with other words like joyous, merry, mirthful, delighted, enraptured, enchanted, blissful, ecstatic...all of which possess us from time to time throughout our lives...I hope. But I doubt our ability to exist in any of these emotionally charged states-of-being for an infinite period of time. We can be happy one moment and sad the next. Happiness is like the wind - uncertain and transitory - not an emotion we can count on to carry us through each day. So, what does one hope for if not happiness?

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but it seems to me that contentment is far more worthy of our aspirations. To be content is to be satisfied. Granted - to exist in a state of satisfaction might limit ones upward movement in some areas of life...slow progress...cause stagnation...enslavement...decay and ruin. Never mind. Perhaps the pursuit of happiness is more desirable.

So where does all of this speculation on happiness lead? Back to the beginning. Am I happy? Honestly, the answer would depend on the moment, because we live moment to moment; and from moment to moment our reality changes. Happiness can spontaneously erupt at any given time, and when it does we are given a treasure that exceeds our expectations and creates anticipation for the moments to follow. But, when someone asks if you are happy they are not inquiring about the moment. They want to know the condition of the whole of your life, and the truth would be in your state of mind. - your perception of your world. In other words, is the glass half full or half empty?

“Well, are you happy.” You ask.

“My glass is half full.” I answer. And in my dreams I sing and dance in the rain.


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      Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

      Beautifully written. I personally prefer dancing in the snow. -_^

    • Ana Louis profile image

      Ana Louis 4 years ago from Louisiana

      Thank you Shelley for reading and your lovely comments. Dancing and spinning in the rain had been an almost magicaI experience for every genertion. I still love it too. And Gene Kelly, well I have always had a huge crush on him. Dancing In The Rain is one of my favoirte movies.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your article, and dancing in the warm rain still brings happiness to this baby boomer!. Gene Kelly epitomised forever, 'Dancing in the Rain'. Up, interesting and beautiful.