Looking at how happiness affects your life, can happiness be learned, and where happiness comes from
Life Lessons

Life and Joy – A Perspective on Happiness

How happiness affects your life

I’ve been thinking about how happiness affects your life. There are things in our lives that we carry for a long time. These can be memories of happy or sad events, thoughts of foods we like or dislike, and thoughts of opportunities taken and missed.

I remember a quote and this is a paraphrase, happiness is hard to recognize because unlike pain, happiness doesn’t leave scars.

This should make us think about how happiness affects your life. I think we can have temporary happiness and lasting happiness based on where happiness comes from.

The duration of happiness

When I think of temporary happiness, I think of food (disclaimer: I always think about food). I can think of moments where I had great cheesecake or other desserts. I bet you can too.

Remember the feeling of happiness from eating that really good meal when you were on vacation? How everything about the food came together and at the moment there’s joy in what you were experiencing.

Experiences like this can make us happy, but for how long? Maybe a little while but the experience is short-lived and maybe we remember it now and then but mostly we don’t.

Should we depend on outside experiences as our source of happiness?  These experiences can short-lived and so is the related happiness. So what does that leave us with?

Does happiness come from longer lasting experiences? If short lasting experiences have short lasting happiness, would the opposite be true?

Are longer lasting experiences result in longer lasting happiness? If so, how do we capture these events in a way happiness affects your life in a lasting way?

If longer lasting experiences result in longer-lasting happiness, can happiness be learned?

Sometimes there seem to be more questions than answers.

Finding where happiness comes from

I think we can find where happiness and how happiness affects your life. We do this by finding things that match or overlap with our goals and personal vision. These are things, I think, have long-lasting effects.

By having this overlap, you can not only create and maintain a level of happiness but you can change and maintain it by evaluating yourself. There is a burden that’s lifted when you’re figuring out what you want from life.

Working towards that goal can, I think, improve our moods for the positive. This can be a possible contributor to bring happiness.

As usual, I see this line of thinking as something that can be applied to part of my life.

I’m hoping it’s probably the same for you. If you skim or read these posts, you can see a trend of personal redemption from failure and exploration into personal growth.

I think how we define happiness for ourselves is part of that journey. We may have areas in our lives where we already have fairly lasting things (i.e. personal achievements or relationships) which help us remember that we are happy.

Relationships, I think, can be an important source of happiness and tend to be a fairly long term. Relationships aren’t restricted to just people but can be applied to pets, they are in our lives just as much a people and we have a personal responsibility for them.

What happiness means to me

This brings me to the next thought, about what happiness means to me?  Can happiness, as a form of satisfaction be considered vanity or ego? How do we know where to draw the line between ego and happiness?

Maybe one way to know is the amount of interference the happiness causes with other aspects of our lives. If there’s minimal interference then it’s probably alright.

This is until happiness becomes overwhelming in other aspects, this is when vanity or pride may be harmful to our concept of happiness.

Happiness for me is knowing that I have a direction for my life, I might not fully know this direction but I know there’s one out there.

It’s also a combination of things and experiences that have made my life richer. Not richer financially but full. I can be happy with what I’ve accomplished and happy with the combination of my experiences.

Final thoughts

Take a moment to think about the long lasting things that are part of your life. The combination of memories and experiences that help you remember that happiness is always within your grasp. Start a note to yourself and write “happiness means to me” and start a list.

If you don’t have a draft personal vision then let this be your starting point. Keep this list with you so you can see how your thoughts change day to day and over time.

Write as much down that comes to mind, you can sort through it later. Don’t limit your options and only stick with the things I wrote about, explore for yourself.

Let me know if you find something interesting that I didn’t discuss. I’m always interested in hearing new perspectives.

Take a moment to remember when you were happy. Did you realize you were happy at that moment? Is there a way to recreate that now?

Can happiness be learned? If so, can we learn to be happy by evaluating what we want out of life (goals and personal vision)? I think we can learn to be happy when we reevaluate what it means to be happy.

I think we often forget that we are happy so we should remind ourselves of this. We can enjoy the temporary happiness (my desserts) but not lose focus on the bigger things that make us happy.

P.S.

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Learning new things about myself after failing out of Pharmacy School

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