What is happiness? To me, happiness is the emotion that you get when you experience love.
Happiness is the opposite of pain, which happens when you experience losing love.
What is peace? In my opinion, peace is when there is balance and harmony.
Can you have peace and happiness? No.
What Is a Balanced Life?
I pondered this when Nneka posed this question on her blog. Peace, balance, harmony - these are synonymous words to me, and these are the key to a happy and fulfilling life.
Mind, Body, and Spirit
These are like the three legs of a tripod. When one leg is unstable, the whole thing crumbles and fall. Balance in the mind, harmony with the body, and peace within the spirit. This is the ultimate state to achieve. Peace, balance, and harmony does not give the whole story though. Where does happiness fit into this equation?
At the risk of sounding overly existential, I subscribe to the Buddhist philosophy that if we chase happiness, we will also expose ourselves to sadness. If one seeks pleasure, one will also unavoidably be exposed to pain. To avoid pain and suffering in this world, one must transcend these things altogether. However, life would become pretty empty and meaningless.
What is Love?
The one word that complements peace is love. Love doesn’t transcend happiness and pain - instead, love embraces both happiness and pain.
Have you ever been in love? Do you remember the joy and happiness you had when you were in love? How about a heart break? Have you had a heart break with your first love? That might be the ultimate pain, one which physical pain would be hard to match. To quote the famous song from the 50’s, why do fools fall in love? Because it’s worth it.
We all want happiness and want to avoid pain. However, don’t let the fear of pain stop you from chasing happiness, because if you truly are chasing it for love, then the pain is worth it.
Happiness as a Daily Activity
Out of a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate my current level of happiness as a 7.
From my score of 7, I would say 5 of the points are based on an objective assessment of my life - I’m moderately happy with my family life, my work, and my health. I am happily married to the woman I love, I have an above-average salary, and I recently lost 15 pounds. Why only 5 out of 10 then? Because I also want to grow. I want every day with my wife to be a new experience for the both of us. I want to the results of my job to make a lasting positive impact in this world. I also want to still increase my cardiovascular stamina and to keep the weight off. I continually want to be a better person.
So where is the remaining 2 points coming from my score of 7? Because I am a perpetual optimist - I believe that I can help contribute in making tomorrow better than today for this world. I believe in the greater good and that love can create something from nothing. The extra two points are from looking forward to the future.
My question to you is, “Where is your level of happiness now?”
The Happiness Project at AlexShalman.com
This post was inspired by The Happiness Project that is currently going on at AlexShalman.com. For the month of February, Alex has been posting his interviews with popular bloggers regarding the topic of happiness. There have been some very good responses, and two of the interviews that were among my favorite were from Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and David Seah of Better Living Through New Media.
Here are the specific answers to Alex Shalman’s questions he posed to bloggers (I linked back to some of my past articles that support what I believe):
- How do you define happiness? To me, happiness is the emotion that you get when you experience love.
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness now, versus when you were a child? My level of happiness now is a 7, and it was about the same level as a kid. Same level, but quite a different approach to get there. As a kid, I was carefree and had no worries in the world. Now, I make a conscientious effort to maintain that same emotional state.
- What do you do on a daily basis that brings you happiness? (and how consistent is the feeling of happiness throughout your day). I treat every day like currency and try to spend it to be one day closer to my dreams. I also meditate at least once a day to help refresh my mind and put myself back into perspectives of the big picture.
- What things take away from your happiness? What can be done to lessen their impact or remove them from your life? I define pain as losing love, which is a necessary part of growth sometimes.
- What do you plan on doing in the future that will bring you even more happiness? I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. If it’s not new, then it’s through.
- Does Trying to Be Happy Make You Depressed?: A well written article from Pick the Brain that reminds us to monitor our emotions.
- Changing Habits: From Workaholic to Achievement Junkie to Husband, Father, and Friend: A great article from I Will Change Your Life that talks about keeping perspectives in life.
- The Hidden Truth About Happiness: A recent article I wrote that reminds us that being happy should be the starting point, not the end result of chasing after goals.