Happiness is something that everyone should aspire to in life, but in many cases people do not. People hope for success, wealth, love, fame and many other things, but rarely happiness in itself. Usually they hope for these things in the belief that these are the things that will make them happy, but these beliefs are often misguided. Many people think they would immediately be happy if they were rich, but research shows that lottery winners, for example, are happier for the first few months before returning to the level of happiness they had before, and in some cases, are more miserable.
Rather than making your happiness reliant on the attainment of certain goals, more people should aim just to be happy. We do have control over our mood to a certain extent, and people determined to be miserable and feel sorry for themselves will be miserable, whereas those who go through life with the determination to always be as happy as possible, whatever the circumstances, are much more likely to experience happiness. Happiness is not so much about what happens to you in life (of course, if lots of bad things happen to you it can be much more difficult to be happy) but how you decide to deal with it. But what is happiness?
Happiness if difficult to define as it means something different to everyone. As discussed, many people’s ideas of what will make them happy are not necessarily true. But it is true that people are not all made happy by the same things, as everyone is an individual. Success will bring a certain level of happiness to many people, perhaps because a lack of it often causes people to have low self-esteem. Some people feel they could not be happy on their deathbed had they not achieved a certain goal.
However, success is often meaningless if a person is alone. Powerful businesspeople who achieve high levels of success at the expense of everything else are rarely happy. This is because it is human nature to want people around us we can share our success with. Without family and friends to celebrate with us when we achieve something, success seems pretty shallow and meaningless. It can also be much more satisfying to help someone you care about with your success than only help yourself, such as providing new opportunities for any children you may have, be it through money, influence or something else.
To have those special people around you to share your success with, you often need friendship, family and love, and these are often at the root of happiness. People with supportive and caring friends and family are much more likely to be happy than those who do not. Some people wrongly think that having lots of friends is what will make them happy, but in reality it is all about the quality of your friendships. Many people also specifically need a life partner to be truly happy – a spouse or long-term partner with whom a person chooses to share their lives, often, but not always, living together and bringing up a family.