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Defining the Indefinable: Happiness

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Are we as humans truly happy? Do we even understand what happiness is? The fact is that we will never be able to know what this unexplainable feeling is because each of us has our own definition of the word. While one may consider happiness to be getting drunk at a party, another may consider happiness to be a lengthy amount of time spent in church or in meditation. These examples are drastically different ,but they both can provide a suitable definition to the word “happiness”, depending on the person defining the word. Through the analysis of various personality types and the definitions associated with these personalities, a deeper insight as to the meaning of happiness can be obtained and a better life may be acquired through the application of the truths discovered.

One of the most widely accepted yet highly controversial definitions of happiness is “having fun”. This is a response commonly given by young people who are either in their teens or their early adult years. At this phase of one’s life, any shadow of commitment, hard work, or sacrifice is a frightening shadow to be following so closely by. This time in one’s life is a transition from being a dependent child to being a responsible adult. It involves both a pull to be mature as one wants to be recognized in society as a respectable person, but still a burning desire to be young and reckless as one may have been as a child. For those who decide that they wish to postpone true adulthood for just a little while longer, the definition of happiness as “Having fun” is one that justifies their immature actions.

“Having fun”, however, is not a definition unique to the young and reckless, but others simply word it differently. Many young people think that they are having fun because their “fun” actions represent immediate satisfaction and pleasure. Others want just as much pleasure or fun, but are willing to wait and work in order to appreciate the long term results of a more substantial sense of happiness. This group of people is still in the younger phase of life, for the most part; but nevertheless, they have managed to limit their fun and to define their happiness as “achieving my dream” or “getting that job or education”. This definition of happiness may be summed up as “Working hard now so that I can play hard later”.

Some people such as the well known Mother Teresa or other people of servitude may not seem to care about themselves as did the characters represented in the first two examples. They seem to care only about helping others and making them happy. However, the action of making others happy is what gives them a nearly unsurpassable amount of joy as they have become bored with the goal to serve only one-self. They wish for an outlet for satisfaction and happiness that allows them to make hundreds or even thousands of people happy as opposed to just one (themselves). If asked to define happiness, these individuals would most likely say happiness is “Serving others” or “Serving God through my servitude of others”. As selfless as this may seem, these people are beautifully the most selfish people in the world as they bypass those who serve one (themselves) and rather create happiness through serving many,which, in return, does not make them feel too bad either.

Those who serve others would not achieve anything, however, without people who need service. For the most part, these are people who can be easily classified as helpless, but there are also people who have the ability to get out of a state of misery and helplessness but simply chose not to. These people would define happiness as “Something I will never achieve” or “Something for the rich and healthy and not for the underprivileged like me”. However, oftentimes this definition, in actuality, says that happiness is “Someone else serving me because I am too lazy to serve myself”. These are the consumers of this world who wish for everything to be served to them without their contribution or sacrifice. These are the people who try to cheat the system of “work now, have fun later” by attempting a life that consists of only fun throughout. In the end, they will only cheat themselves by living a sorry, unfruitful life. However, regardless of the very negative end result, their definition of happiness is a very vivid representation of a common, depressing way of thinking which many people have developed.

It is notable that happiness cannot be defined, only described by an unique and extremely personalized depiction of what joy is. One’s joy may be another’s fear or tragedy and vice versa, allowing a standardized definition of happiness completely impossible to form. One may, however, analyze the various types of people and their definitions of happiness to discover fundamental truths about him/herself. Based on this self-reflection, a person can chose to live a better life because a much more specific path to certain happiness is decided upon. One of the hardest parts of anyone’s life is the locating of happiness; the next step is to hunt it down.





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