The Simple Meaning of Happiness
Everyone wants to be happy. Happiness is the ultimate goal of life. Almost everything that people do in life is aimed toward the achievement of happiness. The choices that they make and the actions that they perform are all geared toward a single end goal – to achieve happiness. Now, what does happiness exactly mean? Is there a single universal definition of happiness? The answer: happiness means different things to different people.
Although there is a technical definition for happiness (a mental or emotional state characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy), people do not usually agree on a single description of what happiness looks like and feels like. For some people, happiness is measured in material possession; a happy person is someone who owns a huge house and drives a luxurious car every day. For others, happiness is measured in the number of achievements contained in their resumes. These are grand but valid descriptions of happiness.
However, these are not the only way to define what being happy means. Some people believe that happiness can also be achieved in simple ways. It can be found in the simple things that each moment offers. Peter Justus emphasizes this in his book, The Pursuit of the Personal Renaissance Experience, a self-help book that can guide you in your pursuit of happiness. Here, Peter Justus particularly talks about how opportunities for happiness always exist in the ever-present now. The discussion on the path to happiness by Peter Justus is explained in a very clear and compelling way, and it can be summarized to this: there is also happiness in the simplicity of the moment. In essence, happiness can be described in simple meanings.
Happiness means being contented with what you have
Happiness is not always about acquiring wealth, material possession, and achievement. Sometimes, happiness can also be felt by simply being contented with what you have. Contentment is the first step toward genuine happiness. When you harbor contentment and satisfaction in life, you will eventually see yourself becoming more and more joyful. Being contented basically entails enjoying the simple things in life. It means acknowledging, appreciating, and being thankful for all of the things that you have at any given moment no matter how big or small they are. In essence, happiness means having the ability to experience gratitude at all times.
Happiness means being free from anxiety and self-doubt
More often than not, people find it difficult to be happy because they constantly choose to wallow in anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt. Instead of living in the moment and enjoying the beautiful things that the ever-present now can offer, these people tend to be regretful over the past and anxious about the future. If you want to experience happiness, you need to let go of your anxiety and self-doubt. Happiness cannot co-exist with these things. The moment you free yourself from anxiety and self-doubt is the moment you experience what genuine happiness feels like. In essence, being happy means being at peace with your past, optimistic about your future, and mindful of your present.
Happiness means knowing that you are loved
When you constantly wallow in anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt, there is a tendency for you to develop feelings of isolation. If you continuously neglect these negative emotions and thoughts within you, they can eventually have power over you and make you believe that you are being unloved. This can then rob you of your happiness. To be happy, you need to remind yourself constantly that you are loved. Happiness requires you to always choose to recognize the good things in your life (including the people who love you) and set aside the negativities that are trying to stop you from being happy. In essence, happiness means knowing your value as a person and acknowledging the love that other people have for you.
Overall, being happy does not always require grandeur. To achieve happiness, you do not necessarily have to own the nicest house in town or the most expensive car there is. Happiness can already be attained in something as simple as contentment, freedom, or love. As the discussion on the path to happiness by Peter Justus points out, happiness can already be found in the simplicity of the moment. There are always opportunities to be happy in the ever-present now. Regardless of however other people define happiness, the most important thing is that you always choose to be happy according to what you believe happiness looks like and feels like.