The formal definition of happiness is: a state of well being characterized by a range of emotions from contentment to intense joy.
I recently started to ponder what my definition of “happiness,” would be if someone asked me. I believe everyone knows it to be the same type of feeling, but that similarity in feeling is often a brought about by a completely different set of sources and therefore has individualistic meaning for everyone.
As I really started to think about it, I became confused almost. It was a crazy and somewhat startling realization that half the time I never really knew how to explain what happiness meant to me. I didn’t actually give myself time to sit still enough to figure it out until recently.
Once I decided to retire my party pants and stop chasing fun, things started to come back into focus. I began to realize in my pursuit of happiness that most of the time what I was looking for to make me happy were cheap thrills. Whether it was alcohol, drugs or adrenaline producing behaviors, those usually worked temporarily, but then I would always be left feeling empty and ready to set out on the prowl again.
I thought of and have even tried moving from city to city, and I’m admittedly still guilty of those adventurous thoughts. However, no matter where I landed the bottom line was that where I was did not bring me happiness. Our location doesn’t dictate our happiness. An outward circumstance cannot change an inward environment. Although, it may suffice for the time being, happiness is an inside project.
The faster you come to grips with this, the sooner you can get to work on clarity of what makes you tick. What really puts you into that special place where you are completely content? So many of us find this place for what feels like fleeting moments only to be left searching to find it over and over. What if you could get to that place and stay there for the majority of the time? You can. But first you have to start with what that place looks like to you. The first step to finding your happiness is to identify it. Once you’ve accomplished what your happiness is comprised of, you’re half way there.
In my own terms, happiness looks something like this: Total acceptance of the present moment. Complete sufficiency. Expectation abandonment. Waking up with a smile and a swelling heart. Love. Fulfillment. Family. Belonging. Security.
When was the last time you felt intense joy? Can you take yourself back to that very moment and define what it is that triggered it and exactly how it felt? What is YOUR definition of happiness?