Saturday, May 11, 2013

Are you Happy?

Today is Mother's Day in Australia. My Mum has brought me untold happiness. She was the first to make me happy. She showed me what happiness was, and how to find it. She also taught me how to make others happy. Happy Mother's Day, Mum. This post is dedicated to you.

While everyone would readily agree that happiness is good thing, actually defining the word is more difficult.

Is happiness a cause or an effect? In other words, is it an intrinsic quality or is it the result of external stimuli? Many things makes me happy. My team recovered from a 0-16 deficit in last night's game to record a 24-16 victory. When I heard this news, I was happy. I didn't see the game because I was dining with friends. Their company made me happy. I enjoyed the food and the conversation. I felt happy before I even arrived there, in anticipation of the happiness that spending time with my friends would bring. My answer therefore, is that happiness is the outcome of pleasurable circumstances. Our happiness depends to a large extent on the happiness of others, especially our family and friends.

Although we all know happy people, happiness, for most people, tends to wax and wane. It comes and goes. Life is a mixed bag of lollies: a collection of sweet, sour and downright unpalatable experiences. Some address the fleeting and often fickle nature of happiness by contrasting it with joy, which is said to be a more settled and permanent state of happiness, and one which is not dependent on circumstances. That distinction is probably a semantic illusion.

This is how I define happiness: pleasure, peace, contentment. How would you define it? What makes you happy?

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