If I ask people to tell me in their own words What is Happiness?, I am typically met with perplexing looks and vague responses. The most common response – “Wow, that’s a tough question. I’m not really sure.”
So, here we are, living in a country built on a foundation that offers its citizens the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – yet, the majority of Americans have no idea how to define happiness.
Originally, our founding fathers wrote “life, liberty, and property”, but at the urging of Benjamin Franklin who felt that the word ‘property’ was too constricting changed it to ‘pursuit of happiness’. They agreed that a basic human instinct and inalienable right was the desire to pursue MORE than simply material wealth = happiness.
Fast forward 200+ years, and while we understand we have the right to pursue happiness, most of us don’t actually understand what it means to be happy!
What is happiness to you?
- How do YOU define happiness?
- What does it mean to BE happy?
- Is it a feeling? A thought? A color? An experience? A memory?
- Is it fleeting or long-lasting?
The dictionary defines happiness as, “state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.“ To me, this is a vague and wide encompassing statement that can mean something different to each person. Perhaps happiness is a universal state of well-being, and the path each of takes to get there is how we determine what makes us happy.
Pause to consider what it means to you to be happy.
- What makes you happy?
- What are you doing to pursue happiness?
- When was the last time you felt truly happy?
- Who is responsible for YOUR happiness?
How does one pursue happiness?
Our Founding Fathers “believed that you attained happiness, not merely through the goods you accumulated, or in your private life, but through the good that you did in public. People were happy when they controlled their destiny, when their voice was heard, when they participated in public events, when the government did not do things to them, or even for them, but with them.”
Just what is happiness?
Lack of Stress?
Here are a few of the responses I got when I asked this question -that is, when I wasn’t met with a ‘deer in the headlights’ stare:
Small moments when you forget about everything else – no worries, no stress… hiking, sailing, flying a kite.”
To me, it’s lack of a list needing attention right now.”
It’s free time to spend however you like.”
Whether the constitution specifically spelled out the right to pursue happiness or not, I believe it is an essential element to life.
Challenge: Pause to consider your personal definition of happiness. Contemplate whether you are currently pursuing it and whether or not you’ve given that responsibility away.
- Answer each of the questions – you may want to start a journal or a blog to reflect on your journey.
- Share your thoughts with us! (Leave a comment, make a post in the Facebook Group, or even shout out on Twitter!)
- Commit to pursuing happiness with renewed enthusiasm!
- Gather images that represent what happiness means to you. Make a photo album, or a collage and share with us! (Make sure to post your links and/or use hashtag #butterflymaiden so we can find you to interact with you!)
I invite you to explore what happiness means to you and get on track to pursuing some more of it.
With mucho a latte of love and respect,