Sunday, 3 January 2016

What's All This About Happiness?

The world is obsessed with attaining happiness. It’s become an over-hyped and commodifiable concept. Countless self-help books claim they can help you achieve it. But it always seems out of our reach.

But why are we so determined to have it?

And when did the search for fulfilling happiness begin?

The Pursuit of Happiness
“The pursuit of human happiness, it would seem, has been with us from the start.” 
Darrin M McMahon

Well, the search for happiness has been ongoing throughout history. In Greek Tragedies happiness was in the hands of chance, or with the gods. Not something achievable by our own hands. It wasn’t until Socrates insisted that happiness lies within our own reach that humans finally began to think
that they were responsible for their own fate.

But how do we actually go about choosing our own fate?
The Oxford Handbook of Happiness describes happiness as a pleasure centered aspect. The pursuit of happiness is seen as a right (as per the American Dream) , but the achievement of happiness isn’t so fundamental. Achieving happiness takes design and work.

My Happiness
There is no one definition of happiness. It’s a subjective experience and what brings me happiness won’t necessarily be the same thing that brings you happiness.
I’m also blessed in that this is the happiest I’ve ever felt. Right now, at age 23, is the most content I have ever felt with my life and in myself. However, a lot of the reasons that I feel happy right now are not stable.

List of reasons why I feel content now:
Have plans for the New Year
Strong friendships
Enjoy my current job
Few financial worries

I’m happy with the temporary job I have, even though my contract is finishing up in April. I’m happy with the financial stability my current job brings me. I’m happy with the new friendships I found in 2015 and the friendships that have been strengthened. And I’m happy that I have some fun travel plans for February. But these are transient things.

With The Romeo Project I’m not searching for more things that will make me happy. I want to see happiness not as a fleeting emotion, but as an enduring trait. I’m trying to become a happier person.
I don’t want to be able to say, ‘I am happy now.’ Rather, ‘I am a happy person.’

Pursuing Happiness
Martin E P Seligman writes in Authentic Happiness that you can increase your own happiness.
“Authentic happiness comes from identifying and cultivating your most fundamental strengths and using them, every day in work, love, play, and parenting.”

According to Seligman, happiness is a state of being. It’s how we live; a way of life. And that’s why I’m redesigning my life. By looking at my strengths, improving on my weaknesses, and actively bringing more happiness into my life I hope to be a happier person by the end of 2016.

The world may be obsessed with attaining happiness, but I’m hoping to achieve it.

A Bit Of Everything

No comments:

Post a Comment