What is Happiness?
How to be Happy.
Happy, happy, happy,happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy,happy, happy, happy, happy- and the more you say it the stranger it sounds and the more allusive it feels.
So, what is happy?
Whenever I start grappling with an idea or concept that is seemingly eluding me, I first start with seeing what Webster says happy is an adjective defined as:
1.delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person.
2.characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy:a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.
3.favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land.
4.apt or felicitous, as actions, utterances, or ideas.
5.obsessed by or quick to use the item indicated (usually used in combination): a trigger-happy gangster. Everybody is gadget-happy these days.
It’s synonyms are:
I wasn’t content with Webster, I wanted to see what the Bible says about happy…the NIV list 20 occurrences. I’ve heard all my life that its better to be joyful than happy.
(In fact I didn’t think happy was in the bible at all, perhaps that’s because I cut my teeth on the King James Version.) So I looked for joy-the NIV has 242 occurrences of joy.
So what is joy?
Webster defines joy as a noun:
: a feeling of great happiness
: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
: success in doing, finding, or getting something
Many theologians will debate if joy is happiness or if happiness is joy…and to be honest I’m getting more confused by the minute about something that should be pretty simple.
There were even entire entries dedicated to the Biblical definition of joy.
Perhaps we are so over familiar with happy we don’t understand it. We’re acquainted with Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy…Happy seemingly the only positive one of the bunch. We know what it looks like, but we don’t know what it is. When we see a toddler with the giggles who is happy with nothing more than discovering her world-that is happy. Give a child their favorite treat
for no good reason, the absolute no holds bar glee on their face, that is happy.
We’ve heard things like:
If you wanna be happy then…
If you’re happy & you know it (how do you know you’re happy?)
Happiness is like…
Is happy/happiness joy or contentment? (Know I have to ask-what is contentment? Contentment is the state of being happy and satisfied : the state of being content) So does that make happy/ being happy that perfect combination of joy and contentment? Is happiness an emotion or feeling or is a conscious decision, a willful choice?
I’m going to say it’s a bit of both.
Life has a way of beating us up and being a bully. We have bills
sometimes more bills than month, we have relationship issues parents, siblings, significant/(in)significant others that tear at us and try to steal our joy, contentment-our happiness.
We have the stresses of life.
Jumping up to rush to work, slaving intently away, speeding home, throwing dinner together, crashing into a heap of exhaustion. (Wash, rinse, repeat x’s 5.)
We have the emotional stress of watching people precious to us age or wither away due to illness…and then there is the thing called new that is ever horrible and stress inducing.
(I simply refuse to watch the news. It’s not that I live under a rock, and I’m pretty coherent with current events I just choose how and when “news” enters my life. I limit news to a few text and about 5 minutes a day. I skim read enough to know the topics, but I don’t let media beat me up and bully me over and over with bad, terrible, awful, no good, rotten news every half hours for hours on end-that is not healthy and a guaranteed happiness thief.)
Happiness is an action.
It is a choice.
It is not simply a description of a state of being.When we choose to be happy then life flows better, we make better choices, and we feel better about ourselves. Sometimes happy is something we practice even if we “aren’t feeling it”.
Let me tell you 2 weeks ago, a month ago…I would have never dreamed I would be talking about the choice of happy. Just 2 weeks ago my stress-ometer was maxed out. When you are exhausted, stressed and running on empty its hard to choose to be happy.
Act happy anyway as much as you humanly can in that moment. Being happy, choosing happy doesn’t change the fact that life is hard, but it will keep the hard times in life from beating you up, from bullying you and from intimidating you.
Happiness if a huge secret weapon.
If you want to refocus and get on with your life-choose to be happy, choose to act happy…yup, fake it till you make it, and before you know it one morning you will wake up and realize your problems didn’t go away…but inspite of them you are happy.
It also help to get some sleep, de-stress & gain perspective.
You choose, you decide, you determine not to let anyone or anything steal, abuse or bully you into giving up your joy, contentment-your happiness.