Happiness, Easy to Achieve, or Hard to Understand?

February 15, 2012
By Jcharh BRONZE, Bridgton, New Hampshire
Jcharh BRONZE, Bridgton, New Hampshire
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

What is the secret to happiness. Elusive question isn’t it? Throughout history, people have been in search of the bridge between their personal lives, and happiness. Happiness, being such an opinionated subject, may be argued and interpreted in multiple different ways. Happiness effects almost everything and directly impacts everyone, so then why is it so difficult to understand and for some to achieve? Many people have been wondering the same thing. Alex Beam reports in his Boston Globe article, “What is it with happiness anyway?” He states “It’s like being thin, everybody wants it, no one can have it (Beam).” Happiness is desired by many people, but no one usually takes the time to think about what truly makes them happy.

Happiness - good fortune; prosperity, or a state of well-being and contentment/joy and/or a pleasurable or satisfying experience (Happiness). As Merriam Webster’s collegiate dictionary states, happiness is being in good health, having a good time, being content with what you have. The problem with modern society is that although they are usually in good health, and can have a good time, they miss that all important third step. As author and college graduate Carol Rzadkiewicz writes in an article, “Humankind has always been in search of happiness, but many people have made the mistake of thinking they could find it either in material possessions, fame, or fortune.” For too long have men and women everywhere thought that happiness is a result of having nice things, lots of money, or fame. However, Happiness is a way of living, not an object you can buy or receive.

A common rule back in kindergarden, known as the golden rule, is “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself” This not only is a rule of behavior, but also of happiness. This relates directly to a quote of Eleanor Roosevelt, First lady to the president between 1933 to 1945 saying “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” Both of these sayings reflect the basic idea that, being nice and aiding others will not only make them happy, but yourself as well. People nowadays are more self centered and single minded, and the few that aren’t, are considered rare and unusually pleasant, and few make the effort to become generous and helpful like them. This leads back to people believing that happiness is within materialistic possessions rather than a result of good deeds and acts of kindness to their fellow piers and persons.

One of the more easily overlooked issues with being unhappy is that of setting hopes and sights to high, and being disappointed when things don’t work out. Basically, “If you’re a big guy, you expect to be on the top all the time and you’re disappointed when things don’t go well. But when you’re down at the bottom, like us, you hang on, you don’t expect much and once in a while you win, and it’s that much better (Carey).” If society would set their hopes at a realistic level, expect less, and not aim so high, their happiness would grow exponentially. They need to enjoy the little things in life instead of striding towards the one big objective, and disappointing themselves when one thing along the way goes wrong.

Enjoying the little things is a critical part of life. However, doing so is near impossible without the ability to forgive and forget. If one focuses on things that have are done with and in the past, not relative to the present or future, then life cannot be enjoyed to it’s full potential. Happiness cannot be achieved if the ability to give forgiveness to others, and forget past experiences, is not learned. Palmer Sondreal words the idea around this quite well in saying that “Happiness? That’s nothing more than health and a poor memory.” This is basically saying that as long as you are healthy, and have a poor memory, or are able to forgive and forget, you will be happy with life, and everything in it. The concept of happiness is basic, but achieving it can be difficult.

For some, actually achieving happiness is almost impossible, because their view and general thought of happiness has been distorted. Society needs to consider how they can change their life, and do it now. It’s easy nowadays to become educated on a subject, and learn how to effectively handle or do something, but it takes real motivation to actually get it done. As Jacqueline Smith wrote in her New York Times article, “That was then and “Happy” is now...” She puts into perspective how people must learn what it is that they need to do to become happy, and get up and go with it, and make effective changes. If people were to not only educate themselves, but to become motivated and determined to change, anything could be accomplished.

The secret to happiness really isn’t a secret. Each and every person has the ability to be happy, whether they know it or not. Society has twisted happiness into a way fit for advertising and things of that nature, and confused people into thinking that happiness can be bought with a paycheck, which is far from the truth. If every person could just be
kind and selfless to his/her piers, life as we know it would change for the better, and happiness would be widely shared. This can be achieved by doing three simple things, Lowering your sights and hopes, be kind to one another, and realize that happiness cannot be bought. These are the three things that are keeping people from having the happiness that so many have wanted. The secret to happiness has always been known, but lately, not acted upon.

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