Happiness is one of the most commonly used words. We all say – the children look so happy. I am very happy today. You don’t look happy. Any reason? How to make a happy world? How to avoid sad feelings and feel happy? Which pill can help us? The discussion about happiness is endless. Does science give a common definition of happiness? General answers are available that say that happiness is a state when one feels good, elated, contented, good etc. Is happiness a life long gift or an emotion experienced for a short time.
If I win a lottery, I become happy. As I spend all the money, I become unhappy again. When you call me a good person, I feel happy and when you curse me, I feel very unhappy. If I look at the dead body of my old friend, I feel unhappy and when I look at laughing faces of children I feel happy. We have no control. Outside forces and events control our emotions. We are all toys. That has no free will. This is difficult to believe but true.
Let us find out what is not happiness. Low self esteem, feelings of despondency, sadness, guilt, helplessness, frustration, low interest, uncertainty, and all such negative emotions are not happy emotions. They rather make us unhappy. Now let us talk of what is happiness? Feeling good, cheerful outlook, positive thoughts, winning attitudes, satisfied living, enjoyment, and all such emotions that make us feel good are happy feelings.
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Is happiness same for all of us? If I give a certain amount to few people, some may become very happy and some may become angry and some will not care either way. Am I making myself clear? So happiness is not something that we feel in equal measure. I may be very happy when I watch the star lit night, but you may enjoy only the bright sunshine. So each one of us has his/her own happiness.
Some of us are happy when we get a large amount of money, some when they can do lot of creative work, some when they can make others feel good and so on. All of us have our unique set of values and desires. We ourselves many times do not know about them. It becomes difficult therefore to know how to keep others happy and this ignorance causes most of inter-personal problems. But these differences in our emotional reactions make us human beings; otherwise we are no different than animals.
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Book – 3: 99 Promises to Self
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“Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.” ― Hannah Arendtread
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