Happiness is a word that people love to throw around all the time. “Happiness is a choice”, “happiness is the key to life” – these are the common expressions about happiness. People love to speak of happiness as if it is something so prized, yet easily achieved. However, there is actually no precise criterion as to what constitutes happiness, and what it exactly means.
By definition, happiness is commonly described as a state of contentment and well-being. It is an electrifying and intoxicating state. However, despite this set definition, different people still describe what happiness means in different ways.
To learn more about how it is viewed, here are some of the different ways in which happiness is defined by people:
Happiness means being free to be yourself
“True happiness is the ultimate feeling of freedom” – this is an adage that basically sums up the importance of freedom in achieving happiness. In essence, freedom is the power to act, speak, and think as one wants without any hindrance or constraint. For many people, being free parallels to being happy. Accordingly, one cannot be truly happy while being trapped in inhibitions. It is pretty much the same as when a bird cannot fully fly while encaged.
In a world where people are in constant competition against one another, it has become difficult to be oneself. Almost everyone is trying too hard to be someone they are not. Almost each person is conditioned to strive to be just like everyone else. For this reason, having the freedom to be oneself has seemingly become a luxury that not everyone can afford. So, when people are able to attain this ultimate freedom to be themselves, the feeling of happiness becomes quite overwhelming.
Happiness means overcoming your fears and worries
Fears and worries prevent people from fully becoming happy. Fears hinder people from trying out new things and taking risks, while worries fend them off from living in the moment. Fears and worries stem from a lot of sources. More often than not, however, they are a result of unnecessary overthinking. Overthinking basically means painfully pondering over negative moments and thoughts from the past or the future in endless loops. Oftentimes, overthinking leads to anxiety and depression.
For some people, happiness can only be truly achieved when they have finally overcome their fears and worries. Overcoming fears and worries entails breaking free from the chain of negativities that are holding them back. When people have already freed themselves from negativities, the result is a rejuvenating feeling of happiness.
Happiness means being able to achieve your goal
Every person is placed in this world with a purpose. People spend a good amount of their time figuring out what their purpose is and what their goals should be. For some people, this can only take some years or decades; while for others, it can take a lifetime. Once people have already discovered their purpose and goals, they then spend the rest of their lives trying to achieve those.
Indeed, the fulfillment of purpose and the achievement of goal can lead people toward happiness. Some people put much emphasis on these purpose and goals to the extent of hinging their entire being on them. As Dr. Peter Justus, in his book titled The Pursuit of the Personal Renaissance Experience, has put it, “[for most people], personal happiness is derived from a sense that a given unit of time has been spent affecting a personal change that results in moving that individual closer toward a desired goal.” Once these individuals have already reached that desired goal, an overwhelming feeling of contentment and well-being is attained.
Happiness means being able to help others
Happiness is not always something about the self. It can also be about other people. Having the right connections with other people, for example, can already make some people extremely happy. Shying away from toxic connections and relationships can enhance their overall well-being.
Having the right connections entail that people are willing to help one another. They treat one another as family, and not just as acquaintances. Altruistic people, particularly, find joy in helping others. These people feel a sense of fulfillment and happiness whenever they help other people overcome their adversities or improve their situations. Their definition of happiness extends beyond their personal interest. For them, personal happiness can also be found in the happiness of others.
In the end, happiness is too broad of a concept for it to be confined in a few words. Indeed, different people define happiness in different ways. There is no right or wrong definition of it. For some people, happiness may be defined as having the capacity to be free; while for others, it may be the fulfillment of one’s purpose. Regardless of whatever definition people subscribe to, the most important thing is that happiness remains a constant – something whose attainment is as treasurable as a gold.