There are so many aspects of happiness that it would be impossible for me to write about all of them in one article… or several. And to be honest, I don’t think I, or anyone in the world really knows absolutely everything there is to know about happiness.
So, this is simply an article about what my experiences have taught me about what really makes people happy and one that I hope will help make everyone that reads it a little more… happy.
1. HAPPINESS IS PERCEPTUAL
To start things off, happiness is a feeling.
Happiness is a feeling that does not depend upon a person’s circumstances. The people, things, and experiences that a person encounters throughout life do not make that person happy. Instead, it is a person’s PERCEPTION of these people, things, and experiences that makes that person happy.
“How do X, Y, and Z fit into my life? Do I want more or less of X, Y, and Z?”
Obviously, the answer to these questions is subjective – different for every person because every person wants different things at different times. In other words, we’re all unique; and in God’s eyes, we’re all “perfectly flawed.”
You see, one of the most remarkable things about life is our power to control it. Although people can’t control every single part of their lives, such as their pasts, they can control how they perceive their pasts. And some things are just inevitable – like traffic. If you think about it, traffic doesn’t necessarily cause frustration. Our frustration comes from the thought of being in traffic – moving slowly towards our respective destinations.
This brings us to my second point:
2. THE ROOT OF ALL HAPPINESS IS PROGRESS
People simply like progress. Why would anyone want a higher paying job? Because in many ways, it’s a sign they’re moving forward (and not backward) in life. Why are the first few months of a relationship usually extraordinarily the happiest months of a relationship? Again, it’s because people feel they’re making considerable progress especially during that time.
But what happens when the money and the relationship suddenly disappear?
Obviously, the answer is: we just don’t feel as happy anymore. This is simply because of the fact that we perceive that progress has stopped. Even if progress has slowed down, we start to feel frustrated, just as if we were stuck in traffic. Everyone, whether they know it or not, is walking towards the attainment (of their perception) of a “happier life.”
However, happiness was never meant to be chased, because that would imply the fact that we’re not happy where we are right now. Instead, happiness is meant to be felt… at all times. But trust me, it’s humanly impossible to feel happy at all times – it’s normal to feel unhappy, too.
What’s more important is how to feel happy more often.
And this, leads to my third point:
3. GRATITUDE IS THE EASIEST AND FASTEST WAY TO FEEL HAPPY
Recalling everything and everyone we’re genuinely thankful for is infinitely more powerful than most people think. (It usually helps to write it all down, too – just to see it all.) When we’re in a state of gratitude, we truly realize just how beautiful life really is. We learn to appreciate life by thinking positively and constructively about everything – the good and the bad… because everything, when lit under a certain perspective, serves an important part in the Big Picture of our lives.
So, what really makes people happy?
Honestly, I simply don’t know. To begin with, I don’t really know what happiness is, but I do know what happiness feels like… and I’m sure you do, too.
I guess the bottom line is:
Stop looking for happiness – it’s already all around you. Just start feeling happy more often by appreciating life – every day. And trust me, things will just somehow fall into place.
If you’re trying too hard to be happy, you’re probably doing something wrong. Happiness is just there or it’s not. Never second guess it.
And one last thing to keep in mind…
You can’t have a happy life unless you first learn how to have a happy year.
You can’t have a happy year unless you first learn how to have a happy month.
You can’t have a happy month unless you first learn how to have a happy week.
You can’t have a happy week unless you first learn how to have a happy day.
A happy life starts with today.