Defining Happiness Essay
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a phrase that is widely recognized here in the United States of America and the world. Written in the Declaration of Independence of 1776, Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are three innate rights that where given to humans by their creator. It is safe to say that the right to life and freedom has one sole meaning in which we can all understand. Now if we take “The pursuit of happiness” and dissect the phrase into two parts you will come to realize that only “the pursuit to” would be the only part in which we can all comprehend. “Happiness” however differs vastly and has multiple meanings to different people. The desire for happiness is something humans all share, what brings happiness to each individual is different and specific to each person. When asking my aunt, Corina Peinado, what makes her happy, she answered with “money and family”. More in depth into our conversation she specified that money literally will not make her happy but being financially stable and being able to support her family is what makes her happy. The assumption that money will make you happy will always be there but not always true. There are stories in which people have all the money in the world and have everything they need and more, but turn out to be very unhappy. Not to say that money will not bring you happiness. Research has shown that people with more money show higher levels of happiness (ED DIENER). In other words individuals who are wealthy are able to afford happiness. Meaning that they can “afford fun and pleasurable activities to a much greater extent” (ED DIENER) Money per se does not equal happiness, perhaps a better explanation would be that a wealthy individual has more tenacity and life goals which makes that person self-driven and ultimately much more happy. On the other hand people that are very wealthy and are not happy can be caused by them spending their life time building up all their wealth, desiring more than what they need and not enjoying their life. According to the Dalai Lama “self-content is the antidote of greed.” In an interview between Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, Dalai Lama states that in order to obtain self-contentment one must be able “to want and appreciate what we have.” Another major aspect to happiness is ones relationship with their friends and family. From personal experience, the most memorable moments as a child and as an adult where when shared with friends and family. According to a research done by psychology master Ed Diener, “very happy people have rich and satisfying social relationships and spend little time alone relative to the average person”. A plausible explanation can be that humans naturally have a need to interact with other humans. Nobody wants to be alone for a long period of time. However not every relationship can be healthy. One can have many bad relationship ties with other people that can make them unhappy, as stated by Ed Diener “Unhappy people have social relationships that are significantly worse than others.” Furthermore the relationship between children and their parents can dictate the happiness levels between both of them. Children who have abusive parents will be very unhappy. According to my aunt Corina Peinado who is a children’s counselor, teenagers and children with abusive parents tend to be the least happy and take on a path of darkness and bad choices. Conversely parents with intolerable children can lead them to be very unhappy. “Studies reveal that most married couples start out happy and then become progressively less satisfied over the course of their lives…” (Daniel Gilbert) Do children make us unhappy? As a father myself I can honestly agree that children do make us unhappy and happy. However the levels of happiness compared to the levels of unhappiness far outweigh each other. Nights of sleeplessness and stress can all be eliminated with a laughter from my daughter....
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