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how do I know if I am happy?

Updated on March 29, 2015
all calm before the storm
all calm before the storm | Source

Defining Happiness

Try as I may, I cannot find a true definition of happiness. What plays in my mind are the words to a well-known song - "Happiness is different things to different people". But if we are all people, there shouldn't be much difference between what makes us happy? Happiness must then be tied up with a personal outlook on a given situation. It would also depend on personal circumstances one would assume. Bringing it back to a personal level: I am now trying to determine what exactly makes me, as an individual, truly happy.

I think of an image of a newborn baby and a first time parent staring blissfully at the tiny individual who is now part of their world, soon to become their entire world, or the image of an animal playing in the wilderness or in the backyard of a suburban home. The smiling face of the observer says it all. Happiness can be expressed in such a way that it has an effect on observers.

When a person is alone, could they also share in being happy? The makeup of the human body enables a sense of happiness to be experienced once other basic needs are met satisfactorily. In saying that, I also acknowledge the many images we can see in the media of children in dire circumstances who manage to raise a smile as the lense of a camera is positioned at the precise angle to capture their expressions.

So in a materialistic world, where money is seen as a source of happiness, can the poor really be happy? Of course they can be, but they must also have their basic needs met. The basic needs reminds me of Maslow's theory of needs, in which the fundamental needs of an individual must be met before higher levels of needs can be contemplated. Of course Maslow was dealing with defining motivation. In this case, the ability to find true happiness in the most saddest ot situations enables the concept of happiness to transcend human hopelessness.

Searching Yet Not Finding

So everyone has had a go at looking for happiness. For a few moments, let's look at specific things that influence happiness. Family - would you identify your family as a source of happiness? Money - can you put a price on happiness? Education - is the pursuit of knowledge over-rated? Social Standing - who is in a position to judge our worth as an individual?

Just a few questions to contemplate while thinking about finding happiness. What I have found is that happiness can, at times, be fleeting. Once I think I have found it, away it goes. The best thing about happiness is that it may be found again. I often think about ways to recover happiness when it has disappeared, actually that is a part of life that I do enjoy in itself. I actually love to look for ways to be happy.


Nothing can replace our ties to family. Despite the various personalities, when we are in the one family, we manage to 'get on' with one another. The best thing about being part of a family is that we have to learn to adjust and regulate our ways to fit in with other people. This enables flexibility within an individual, and it is a good way to establish habits which will help us to exist in a work environment which will involve us having to mingle with different personality types in close proximities. Family gives us purpose. If there are children, there is more of a need to be stable. Finding the balance between pursuing own happiness and looking out for the feelings of others may become a constant challenge, but with all parties working towards making family relationships stronger, the feelings of everyone may be considered. Yet if those who are members of the family find it easier to behave as a child when trying to get things to suit themselves, this makes for unpleasant family disagreements and has the potential to damage all future relationships with each other.

singing out loud
singing out loud

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