What is happiness? There are many degrees of happiness from a general sense of well-being, through elation, exhilaration and jubilation to ecstasy. It can arise from the miracle of being alive for another day. It’s an ability to remain optimistic in the face of all sorts of obstacles. The Dalai Lama asserts to be happy we need compassion.
Helen Keller, blind and deaf following a childhood fever, declared everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence. She learnt to be content whatever state she was in. Happiness can be joie de vivre, moments of exuberance when everything seems too good to be true. Its the glow of joy from a beautiful morning, when the spirit soars and propels you forward, a feeling that nothing can dampen your enthusiasm and high spirits.
Anon says, Being happy doesn’t need everything to be perfect. It just means you’ve learnt to look beyond the imperfections.
Is it a state that exists all the time? Heightened emotions and heady feelings are too powerful to be sustained on a 24 hour basis. Happiness often comes from one small, unexpected gesture, a kind word, a smile. Being too high can become off-putting to others, bringing the thought, whoa there, this isn’t real.
True happiness exists in moments of joy and contentment, among the mundane reality of every day existence. It means letting go of things that make you sad. Happiness often arrives through a chink in your sadness. It can be elusive. Often we fail to realize it’s there until a change of circumstances alerts us to what we have lost. Then we can look back on past events and say, Yes, I was happy then.
Ben Sweetland tells us, happiness is a journey, not a destination. Never try to seize happiness. Being too needy is a burden to others. On the other hand, being needed, brings joy. Doing good deeds for others, results in personal happiness. Happiness is laughter, it is tears, the birth of a new baby, remembrance of things past and the excitement of future possibilities.
Losses and failings may temporarily render happiness impossible, yet somehow one finds the strength to go on, with hope, if not contentment.
Happiness can be companionship, sharing a meal, supporting someone in the travails of living. One cannot build happiness on the misery of others. Happiness is the lightness of being that makes even the most difficult task bearable.
You want happiness for a couple of hours? Read a good book, watch your favourite movie. Happiness for a day? Try pictures at an exhibition, a concert. Happiness for a fortnight? Go cruising. Happiness for a year? Win the lottery. Happiness for a lifetime? Spend your days helping others.
And, as they say, for every minute you’re angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.