A Guide to Happiness

The search for happiness is a lot like the search for the Holy Grail. We don’t even know what exactly it is we are looking for.

I realize I’m probably the last person to lecture on why seeking happiness is a silly idea. After all, I wrote a book called, The Humanist Approach to Happiness.  Check it out – it’s a good book and your purchase of it will make me, very happy.

Anyway, it seems to me that a big part of the reason people struggle with being happy is because they don’t recognize it when they experience it.  Is happiness the state of being happy?  Is it a state of contented bliss? Can you be happy even when you are sad?  Is it a feeling of pleasure? Or something different?

Because we don’t really know exactly what happiness is, our search for it is elusive.  And this search prevents us from being happy and experiencing bliss.

I think my son has it right. Today he told me. Life is pretty good.  I said, I agreed because it sure beats the alternative. And that is how you find happiness.

Don’t look for it. Appreciate the fact you are alive, despite the odds, despite the problems, you are alive and that sure beats the alternative.  What more exactly were you hoping for?  Life is filled with pleasure and pain. Sadness and joy.

To me, happiness isn’t a feeling, it’s an experience of contentedness and to experience that requires a little bit of reflection, that despite it all, life is pretty good. I don’t need to experience utmost bliss all the time to be happy. I just have to be alive so I can experience bliss when I am lucky enough to experience it.

How do you define happiness?

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