Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happiness


Please respond to the following prompts: I expect you to to ask an open-ended critical level question at the end of your response that may prompt someone else. I also expect you to react to one other's comment within your own reflection. Make sure you are being thoughtful and discerning.

What constitutes "happiness" in life? What do you need to be happy? What should drive and push us regarding happiness? What might blind us from becoming happy?


46 comments:

  1. In order to be happy, I feel like you must first remove whatever doesn't make you happy from your life. If you don't like your job, change jobs. If you don't like the color of your room, change it. Why should we make these changes? Because everyone deserves to be happy. Everyone deserves the chance to live whatever kind of life they want. It's the small and trivial things in life that prevent us from finding our own happiness. When you remove everything that doesn't make you happy like your job or room color, you'll know what you must do to find true happiness now that you are no longer blinded from it.

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    1. I like how you also said "change it". I agree with you because happiness is a choice. I think some people don't realize there is always another option or solution to a problem. I also agree with your statement about when people remove the negative in their life, they can find their happiness.

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    2. Casey - I like what you're saying, but I do have one question for you: Is it always practical to say "change it" in every situation? Sometimes we can't always change what doesn't make us happy. I think that sometimes the unpleasent things are what truly make us happy in the long haul. Just something to think about!

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  2. I think if someone is 'happy' it means they are content. They are content with where they are in life. It's not saying nothing is wrong or everything is perfect but being happy means you can look beyond the imperfections and find peace. For me to be happy, I need to be able to make my own choices. I want to be in control of my own life. One is more at peace when they are happy and that peaceful state is important. Material items are not needed to be happy. Happiness comes from within. It comes from our brain and our heart. Happiness attracts happiness. When worry and fear get too big and too strong, it can blind people from happiness. And sometimes people have big problems that they need time to cope with but that is temporary. If you decide you want to be happy, then you can.

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    1. I completely agree when you say that worry and fear can blind people from happiness. These factors can be overpowering, and too much of them will prevent one from finding their own inner happiness.

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    2. Melissa - I really like how you say that "being happy means you can look beyond the imperfections and find peace." I think that this is great because it illuminates the fact that happiness can be achieved. I just think that most people are not able to grasp this idea. I think that a lot people think that happiness means that everything has to be perfect - they don't look at the small things. I also like how you say that happiness is a choice. I really agree, I don't think that anybody can ever force you to be happy no matter how hard they try- it's all a decision that has to be made be you.

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  3. In my mind happiness is not necessarily something that you create, but rather you stumble upon. I have always found happiness in the small, often overlooked things like a beautiful breeze blowing through the car window while my favorite song is playing on the radio. I think part of the problem that we face, is that we try to create our own happiness and we don't stop to see the pleasures in what is happening now. We often try to plan ahead in our minds how we will fulfill our desire for happiness and what we need to do to be happy. The main problem I've always faced with this, is that often times things get in the way of my plans, and then my expectations are dashed. I also don't think that anything necessarily constitutes happiness. I think happiness is simply an emotion that radiates outward based on circumstance. I don't think that we need anything to be happy- because happiness can always be found even in the shadows. It's all perceptive. But I’m not necessarily one to talk. I find it both challenging and sometimes frustrating to try and look for happiness in everything. I think that especially Americans often feel the right or need to express frustration and expect happiness to be brought to them. This always presents me with one question: Would we be happier if we had less? Would this make us appreciate and find greater joy in what we already have? Is simplicity the solution to happiness? Do we overlook happiness because it is found in the simplest forms? (And I guess that was more than one question, too!)

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    1. Error - *It's all perception.

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    2. I agree with what you said, "we try to create our own happiness". I think that our society is caught up in artificial, instantaneous, shallow happiness that mostly comes from advancing technology. I think that we need to "stumble" across happiness that can be found in music, literature, nature, family, or religion. We need to find the happiness that has been pushed back into the "shadows" due to the human creation of instantaneous gratification. So yes, we need to appreciate what we already have and return to a simpler time. But it's easier said than done, because humans are always wanting something more.

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  4. Happiness is found by CHOOSING to be happy. Like Casey said, people choose to be happy by removing unhappiness from their life. Often, when a person is unhappy they get stuck in a slump where they do not want to be happy, and these people are driven away from happiness. In order to push themselves towards happiness, these people must actively search for happiness. Also, as Melissa said, people who control their own life are happy because happiness comes from within and "happiness attracts happiness". Happiness comes from choosing to do the things you enjoy or spending time with people you love or finding joy in the small things, as Klarissa said. For me to be happy, I need to start choosing to live for me. I need to focus on doing the things I love and begin to live for me. But I wonder, is unhappiness necessary in order for a person to find true happiness?

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    1. Bekah, I personally believe that experiencing unhappiness, or at least having an example of unhappiness, is very crucial to finding happiness. Like many other aspects of life, you don't know what position you are in unless you can see the alternative. Also, I like the point you make about choice. A lot of what we experience in life is through the way we perceive it, so taking responsibility and initiative is extremely important.

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  6. I see happiness as a state in which you are willing to accept your surroundings for what they are. Another way to look at this is what creates unhappiness. Unhappiness is caused by tension or botheration in the world around you. So, if you are able to handle the situations of life without inducing these stresses, then you are happy. For me personally, I need positive reinforcement from the world around me. That is, I want to see the endeavors I undertake having results, and also be able to interact successfully with the people around me. I base a lot of my feelings on the atmosphere around me for this reason. I know I am a part of a much larger society, and like to know that I have an impact on it, as much as it does on me. In order to achieve the unique form of happiness that everyone seeks, I think we must be driven through our innate human desire to improve ourselves. If we are ever unhappy or dissatisfied with our current state, it is always in our best interest to seek something better. However, the methods used to find this should be different for each person, since each goal is different. There are always distractions from achieving true happiness, and the greatest of these is false, glorified happiness. In the modern world, the media and other sources set stereotypes on what happiness should be, such as wealth and ideal families. This type of generalization can be seen in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams,” where the glamor of a carefree lifestyle ends up being a let down eventually. Each person needs to find what makes him or her happy, instead of falling for the stereotypical outlook. However, I have always been intrigued, what causes these stereotypical versions of happiness? Why are certain aspects of life commonly glorified in our world?

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    1. I really feel that in today's culture, we're used to a bombardement of media, we're used to instant gratification, and more than ever we constitute material good possessions as happiness. When we post on a social media site, we want attention. We want as many people to know, as quickly as they can find out, about what you're doing, and what a great time you had doing it. It's a circle of becoming less and less aware of the opportunities and beauty around you, and more about doing something for the fame of it, for the money it will earn, or the likes on a Facebook status. From this, a stereotypical happiness is born of having the most, doing the most, experiencing the most. "Happiness", has become quantity over quality. It consists of Starbucks, trips to the tropics, new cars, new clothes, more and more over the top expectations qualify the need for more materials, and bigger experiences. Not because they're always glorious, but what they stand for, and their material cost is, values them to be able to create happiness if that makes sense.

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  7. Happiness is being content in where you are in life, and not worrying about the future. It is the feeling of accomplishment. It is hope that the future will be better than your past. I think that in order for us to be happy, we need to feel like we have a purpose. We talked about the American Dream on Friday and it got me thinking, the reason that Fitzgerald wasn't happy when he became rich, was because that was his life goal since childhood. Once he accomplished this, he no longer had a purpose in life. Because he had no purpose, he had no happiness. We need to feel like we are doing something with our lives. We need our goal to be out of reach, because if we accomplish it and realize that it isn't as good as we thought it would be, we become unhappy because our dream is shattered. This is just like what Dexter felt about Judy after she faded out. He felt deep despair and disappointment because the image he had of her in his head no longer existed. When you break it down to the most basic level, the need and desire for happiness is what drives every decision in our lives. It is what pushes us. Apathy only occurs in people who no longer believe that they can have happiness in their lives. False hope for happiness is what can blind us from being happy. Many people think that money or fame will make them happy, but we see tons of celebrities today who are absolutely miserable, despite their wealth and fame. Guilt can also keep us from being happy. In order for people to be truly happy, they must stop looking back at the past. They must stop regretting the bad things they have done and stop wishing for happier times in the past. This leads people to think that their past was better than their present and their future, and no one can be happy while thinking that. I agree with Bekah about choosing to be happy. In order for people to be happy, they must stop looking at the bad things in their lives, but instead focus on all of good things. However, they must wholeheartedly do this. Putting on a happy face and being an optimist can give you the feeling of happiness, but it is very shallow. It is more just denial of your sadness. If we want to be happy, we need to commit to it rather than just telling ourselves we are happy.

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    1. So I just have to say that I completely agree with the part where you are talking about with a lack of purpose comes a lack of happiness. I feel like, when I'm reaching for a goal and am working my butt off to try and get there, it may be a lot of work, but at least I feel like my life has a purpose to it. This is going to sound CRAZY, but sometimes, when I'm sitting around during the summer and have nothing to do; no goal to work towards, I am bored and unhappy. I think it's interesting how it's almost human nature to find ourselves working to get to something else, and then once we have it, it almost doesn't even matter any more because it was getting there that created all the memories in the first place.

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  8. I agree with Casey, Melissa, and Bekah that happiness is a choice, but I believe that happiness is the choice to accept yourself, your problems and your place in this world whether it is for a few moments or twenty years. People are usually selfish and they need to be, regarding the journey for happiness because happiness is not something that others can find for you. It is truly a personal problem. I also believe in the power of a smile. Except it cannot be a fake smile because that means fake happiness, which is the reason why so many people are unhappy. People put on a fake smile to cover up their unhappiness from other people because others’ expectations can blind us from happiness. With that being said, how important is a fake smile/fake happiness in today’s world? Is it a lie that everyone must tell in order to get through tough days or is it something more?

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    1. I definitely agree with all of your points. I think that everyone flashes a fake smile now and then. I think that fake smiles are people's ways of pushing aside their problems. In today's society I think that people use their fake smiles too much. It doesn't allow people to get close to them and know if they are hurting. However, a person might not be comfortable looking upset in public, and the fake smile helps them get through the day. I believe that fake smiles are okay to use, but they shouldn't be used as a way to escape emotions.

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  10. I think that in order to be happy, you need to realize and understand your own values. Every person will have different experiences and challenges, and it is important for people to appreciate the little things within these situations. In order to be happy, not everything in life has to be perfect. It is more about learning from your mistakes and knowing that you are capable of handling future challenges.To be happy, I need to take the time to do the things that are important to me, while also appreciating the people and the situations that I encounter every day. I need to challenge myself, both physically and mentally. I know that this isn't always easy, but I need to choose to be happy.

    I know that sometimes I tend to dwell over the past. I will think about a stupid mistake or something embarrassing that I did a long time ago over and over again. I have a hard time getting past these negative thoughts, and I think that this can influence my happiness. I need to learn from my mistakes rather than obessing over what I should have done. The past is the past, and people need to look at each day as a new opportunity. We don't know what the future holds, so it is important to make the best of each situation. Happiness isn't a given, you have to work towards it.

    Is there a set definition for happiness? Does its meaning change?

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    1. Amanda,
      I completely agree with you when you say that happiness is not handed to anyone and the that we have to work towards it. Happiness is a journey that everyone must travel as a part of finding themselves. I was wondering how someone can be happy about the unknown? I agree that it is best to make the best of every situation but how would you tell someone to make the best of a death or a tragic event, for example?

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  11. Different people have different definitions of happiness. Some think of it as being content, having nice things, having great relationships, accepting yourself, etc. and personally, I don’t really have one. Happiness to me has always been simply emotion, something that many things can make me feel. In this way, I have no specific definition except that happiness is when something makes you happy, not necessarily an awesome way to explain it, although I know nothing else.
    I don’t think that you can achieve happiness if you try. By this I mean that people usually don’t know what exactly makes them happy, and in this way, if you try to make yourself happy you will invest in the wrong aspect of life. This is the reason that people believe that they can become happy through material goods or money. You may be able to get momentary happiness from these things, but not lasting.
    Amanda, I don’t think there is a set definition for happiness. I believe that it’s different for everyone, so it’s very hard to place a tag on it. Everyone gets happy differently, everyone perceives happiness differently. What I wonder is this, why do we feel the need to place this tag on happiness? Is it our want to know everything about the universe, to be able to absolutely describe happiness?

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  12. I believe that a happy life has a lot to do with acceptance. Obviously there is a need for dreams and goals within life but if you spend your whole time on Earth wishing you were rich and not appreciating what you have and where you're at then you won't be happy. People need to learn to understand their place in the world and how to be grateful for what they've been blessed with. From there I think that in order to have a happy life you need excitement, relationships and to do what you love. Whether it be dance, sports, singing, acting, reading, gardening, etc. you must do what you enjoy or happiness will not find its way into your life.

    In my life I need the close relationships I have with God, my sister, family, and a few good friends to find happiness. I have always been a happy person but I received a daily devotional for Christmas and that has helped me in so many ways. I've been able to be closer to my Lord and get my priorities in order to become even more cheerful. I also find happiness through many different activities. Such as: babysitting and playing with little kids, hanging with my sister, jumping on the trampoline, playing with my dogs - especially my puppy, Stanley, singing to the radio, and so much more. My favorite activity is dance. Just being able to express myself though my movements and inspiring people brings me so much joy.

    I don't think there is really a drive to push people to be happy. They need to make the choice within their heart to stop looking for the bad and appreciate the good. I can't be too deep and philosophical within this response because I don't really think its too hard to find happiness and appreciate the good in your life.

    I agree with Amanda that mistakes and regrets can play into someone's overall happiness and blind them from finding it. If you're too busy worrying about what could've been then you will miss the opportunity to change your circumstances and your attitude as well. I also would say that the pressures of society to be perfect and make a good impression on others can blind people from happiness. If you lived in a different, more secluded location, how would your happiness change?

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    1. i think that my happiness would turn into more genuine happiness. it would turn into kind of what i talked about, with being able to focus more on being happy with myself and being able to appreciate the little joys that come with living and that would allow more happiness to fill my life other than being "happy" with a new phone or a ton of clothes or whatever.

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  13. what do i need to be happy? thats hard because almost all of my life happiness has been material things but what if happiness is a chance to get to where we are going, achieve a goal we had created in our younger years or even finding love? i personally need contentment with myself and know who i am that way, when someone asks me if i'm happy i can honestly answer yes. because if one is happy with themself then nothing else should be necessarily "needed" to be happy. i strongly believe that idf one is happy with themself then everything else in life that makes you feel better is just aditional sprinkles here and there. being who you want and being happy with that person is everything i need, with one acception. i think that if someone is 85% happy with who they are and then they find love then that other 15% is filled in. love does amazing things to make someone the happiest person in the world if they let love in. Love is what i think drives us to be happy and drives us to make others we love happy. For some reason the satisfaction with making people you love happy fills in all the little gaps that you might be missing in your life. love completes my happiness and somewhow makes me love more than ever. on the flipside of that, i feel that the material things in this world, media, and unrealistic lives blinds most people from being happy. we all think that being skinny, or super built, or plastic surgury or whatever will make us happier because we will be "happy" with how we look. well i think that is such a blindfold to how we view ourselves. to be honestly happy i feel as if you need to love yourself for who you are not who you think you should be. what in your life makes you think you need to be better? is there anything you feel like you need to fix about yourself? why? who or what made you feel like you wernt good enough in some way? why would changing who you are make you happier?

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    1. I love the questions that you propose. I think it is human nature to devalue ourselves and see ourselves as less than what we really are. Changing one's own self would most likely lead to unhappiness. Personally, I can't imagine myself any differently than I already am. I would be extremely unhappy as someone else. If everyone could see that changing themselves isn't the answer, then there would be more genuine happiness.

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  14. Happiness does not have a single defintion. Every single person on this planet constitues happiness differently. But the feeling of happiness is complete content with the moment. Not everything in your life has to be perfect in order to be happy, it's just that for a moment, all can be forgotten and then you're lost in laughter or a talk with your friends or whatever it may be that causes all the bad to cease and for you to just be elated for a few moments. That is what i constitute as happiness. In my opinion, you dont really need anything materialistc in order to be happy. You could be broke or rich and be happy either way, it really all depends upon the people you surrond yourself with. If there is nothing but negative people around you who never seem to want to have fun or at least try to be happy, then I can't imagine that could make anyone happy. Surronding yourself with people who love and care about you can be the greatest ticket to happiness. I think that it can be our mindset that sometimes blinds us from happiness. If we're sad and we think, this shirt is going to make me happy if i buy it, then that can screw us up. Because then it becomes all about the material goods of life, and not the actual things that matter and count towards happiness.

    I really agree with what Klarissa said about how you don't create happiness, it's something that happens to you. As hard as you may try to make yourself happy, if it doesn't come on it's own then it is just an illusion in yourself, pretending to be happiness.

    Do you believe that your happiness can spark others?

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  15. I honestly don’t know what constitutes happiness. You could describe happiness as that feeling inside that makes you smile and appreciate the good around you. You could also describe it as the opposite of sadness. But, for me at least, happiness fluctuates in my life. I mean, we have all been in a place where even the things that used to excite us and make us incredibly happy just don’t anymore. Sometimes it is just about living in the moment, taking life day by day. By that I mean that happiness could stem from being freer and not expecting things. If we expect something and don’t receive it, then we are upset when we don’t get it. If we simply take life as it comes at us, then the surprise of something good creates a happy feeling.

    When I read the question, “What do you need to be happy?” the first thing that came to mind was a supportive group of family and friends. When I am upset about something, I either pick up the phone and call a friend, or I hang out with my family. Knowing that I have people in my life that will do anything to see me smile inspires me to be happy.

    I read something online that said, “We enjoy warmth because we have been cold. We appreciate light because we have been in darkness. By the same token, we can experience joy because we have know sadness.” This is accurate, however in some ways it is dismaying to think that some people only experience joy because of the abundance of sadness in their life. I don’t think that a lack of happiness should push us to be happy. I think that we should be motivated to be happy because we know that it will not only benefit ourselves, but those that are around us.

    In some ways, I think that reward blinds us from being happy. If we partake in something just for the reward, we prevent ourselves from seeing the actual meaning behind it. I like what Annie said about material goods “taking over” and sort of disallowing us to see the actual good in life.

    Why do we wonder so much about what makes us happy instead of actually living and discovering happiness?

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  16. I think that happiness comes from a something or someone who can bring us out of a low places. Happiness comes from different places for everyone. I think that happiness occurs from memories as well as relationships. I am a person that is happiest when I'm having a good time with people that I truly care about. I think that I need good, strong people around me to be happy. Without those positive influences I think that I would be a more negative person. Also, I need time to myself. I like to reflect on my life and sit alone and think. I am most happy when I can think clearly and relax. I think that personal goals should drive happiness. Everyone has something that they want to do with their lives, and once they achieve this goal, they find true happiness. A lot of happiness comes from a person's satisfaction with themselves. I think that we are blinded by all the negative things in our lives. Personally, I tend to focus on the things that are going bad in my life instead of the good things. Thinking about these bad things too much can change my mindset and overall attitude.

    Is there a point where a person can't get any happier? Where is that line? How does a person know if they are truly happy or if they haven't experienced it yet? Do we need to be around other people to be happy?

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  17. What constitutes "happiness" in life?
    I think that every person has a different perspective of what constitutes for happiness. Some think that you must be happy all the time while others believe that in genuine you feel happy but certain moments stick out. In order to be happy I believe you must be willing to look past the negatives in your life and find the positives and the reasons to be happy. By surrounding yourself with others that lift you up, you can let go of those negatives in your life more easily. I agree with Klarissa about how happiness happens to you. I think that if you go looking for happiness that the picture becomes more and more blurry but if you just start living happiness will come to you. I think that we value happiness so much because we have all gone through bad times and felt lost and alone. By experiencing these moments we see the difference in how we see the world. We want to feel the joy that life can give us and take hold of all the opportunities given to us. I think what blinds us from happiness is trying to fit in with others. I think most people are willing to change or hide a piece of themselves to please others. As we do this we loose a sense of ourselves and our values. We cannot be happy unless we show our true colors and attract those who accept us and can lift us higher.
    Can we reach complete happiness or will there always be something holding us back?

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  18. There are so many definitions of happiness and for me personally, happiness means a lot of things at different times, sometimes it’s a mindset, the feeling of content, and it can last a moment or long time periods. So I can’t say that I have an exact definition of happiness, but I do know that happiness comes and goes and it’s when I can honestly say I am content and able to freely smile. I have never related happiness to materialistic things directly because no matter what you buy or have ultimately that object is not going to keep you happy or give you fulfillment because there is no connectivity or emotions with objects. I believe the feelings, connections, moments, events, relationships are what bring happiness. I also agree with the idea that happiness comes with acceptance, because acceptance is saying that not everything is going to be perfect, there will be struggles, but you can still be happy overall. Happiness is something you stumble upon and it finds you in an unexpected moment, or where you have to work hard to find it. I have experienced both situations. There are so many things that blind us from becoming happy but I think its people’s mindsets and mentalities that really effect weather someone is happy or not. I know that happiness has a lot of perspectives and viewpoints, but for me it’s a concept that ranges but ultimately means the same thing.
    Other than acceptance, what other mindsets are needed to become happy? And are people so caught on the concept that either happiness has to be worked for, or happiness just happens, why can’t it be both?

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  19. What constitutes "happiness" in life? What do you need to be happy? What should drive and push us regarding happiness? What might blind us from becoming happy?
    I agree with Andrew in that I do not believe there is a set definition for happiness, and that we all have our own personal definitions. Some people get it from being around friends and family, others receive happiness through material possessions, and some still get it through pure self acceptance. Personally, my happiness comes from being around friends, even if its something simple like sitting around the lunch table talking. For the most part, no matter what I'm doing, if I'm doing it with someone I enjoy being around, I'm happy. I think happiness can be constituted at something as simple as feeling like you are doing the right thing. Many people who are unhappy are that way because they don't feel like there are doing the right thing, wether it be at that moment or in their life in general. I Think that over obsessions with material value can blind us from true happiness. to want something is human, however becoming obsessed with this want can lead to bad things, like unhappiness. Just like in "Winter Dreams" Dexter is so blinded by his want to be better than everyone that he cant see what truly makes him happy. Which leads me to my question: is happiness something that you can achieve, or is it something that just comes to us by making the right decisions?

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  20. I think that the things that constitute happiness in life are simply acceptance and independence. Acceptance comes from realizing that life will never be perfect, and that at some point there will be bad times, but in order to achieve happiness one must accept their circumstances and learn to still be happy when things go wrong. I love what Melissa said about accepting life’s imperfections, because that’s exactly what I think more people need to do, instead of basing their happiness on everything in their life being absolutely “perfect”. In order to be happy one must also learn to separate their happiness from material goods. If you can only feel truly happy when you buy a new pair of shoes, for example, then you will never achieve true happiness through that. Because after you walk out of that store, you’re left searching for your next happy fix, and when you’re always searching for your next source of happiness, true happiness will always be just out of your reach, therefore you must be happy with yourself, and your choices, and the people in your life. However, my definition of happiness is in no way exactly the same as someone else’s and it is important to remember that everyone has their own definition of happiness.
    Personally, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve accepted who I am and I’m happy with where I am in my life, so for me, it’s the little things that make me feel really happy. Whether it’s the laughing until I can’t even stand up, sitting outside at night watching the stars, driving around and listening to music, the endless feeling of a summer day, or just the feeling of realizing all the good things I have in my life that I should be grateful for.
    I don’t think happiness is something that we should be driven towards; instead it is something that should be an integral part of our lives, something that happens along the way as we learn to accept ourselves and others. It’s easy to be blinded by the stereotypical idea of happiness, as we talked about in our “Winter Dreams” discussion with the idea of the “American Dream”. When we look at others, and their success, material possessions, or appearance we see only the tip of the iceberg. We don’t see the things they struggle with daily, whether it is family, friends, appearance, school, money, or the obstacles they face on their own personal road to happiness, and so their life seems perfect, when in reality it could be everything but that.
    Why do some people base so much of their happiness on material things? What causes them to consider objects as more important to their happiness than family, or friends?

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  21. Happiness is discretionary-always. There is nothing that can make someone happy, no object, service, or material possession. No individual can take away your happiness, although I do think that it is possible to give someone happiness. If you choose to be happy then you really can be, it is a choice. You could have everything in the world and still not be happy, just like you could have absolutely nothing and be completely happy. Happiness doesn't depend on anything, not even money or love. Money can buy you extravagency, superiority, comfort, and ease, but never happiness. Happiness is a decision. Now that makes being happy sound like the easiest thing in the world-like you can just say to yourself 'I want to be happy' and bam, you're happy. But personally I struggle with being happy-or at least I used to. I have learned a lot about being happy in a very little time, and keeping a positive mindset has helped me keep a solid baseline. What really brings me up is when I reach goals-when I accomplish something I've always wanted to do or stressed about getting done. Also affection makes me happy. Not attention, but affection-when people express their appreciation for me, when I feel needed, when I feel admired, and when I feel loved. People are meant to be loved, and things are meant to be used. One loses sight of their happiness when they start loving things and using people, but that's just my opinion. So my question is: If happiness is a mindset, why isn't everyone happy? What stops us, what stops you?

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  22. Defining happiness is like being asked to calculate the mass of the sun, in nano-teaspoons, with only an apple and an abacus. It truly is an impossible question. The ironic thing, though is that I consider myself happy. Despite not really knowing what true happiness is, I still consider my life full of happiness and joy. I'm not being cliche or anything, but I truly am happy. I could list all the blessings in my life and come to the conclusion that they are the source to happiness, but that feels superficial. Whenever I think of my own happiness, I always think of a kid I saw in a documentary about Africa. This boy was an orphan. He rarely had enough to eat, he had no education and lived in a corrugated tin shack. Yet the smile on his face, the joy that he had was like nothing I've ever seen before. He was truly happy. But if this boy could probably count his blessings on one hand. So what gave this boy true happiness? I believe the key to happiness is not to focus in happiness. The key is not to ask, "What will make me happy today?" or "Am I happy?". The key is to live life. It's not about reaching certain milestones or goals. Happiness is the natural human condition, it is when we focus on what is not important that we lose it. I agree with Jack when he says that the reason the Fitzgerald never became happy was because that was all he focused on. His ultimate goal of being happy could never be reached so his life had no meaning. It may sound unoriginal, but you will always find unhappiness in your life if you look for it. You will still find it even if you focus on the good in your life, because good is never good enough. Therefore I think the key to happiness is to forget all about happiness and simply live life. However, it seems very hard for us humans to do this. We are a gaol oriented type that always wants to plan for the future. Does this goal-setting hurt our happiness? Is a spontaneous life the real source of joy?

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  23. Happiness to me a collective experience. Without taking time to enjoy the small things, the overlooked details of life that makes it whole, it wouldn't constitute as anything but time filled. Without the smell of the airport, the weird flight times, wearing uncomfortable airport clothes to get to my destination, travel would not be complete for me. Some would see a delayed flight as an inconvenience, but has the average irritated traveler with the small, specialized suitcase ever stopped in their march of progress to enjoy the specialty of people-watching? Simply stopping to admire the throngs of humanity that come from every corner of the globe just to walk past you for your viewing entertainment. Happiness doesn’t need to consist of money, place, or time- happiness is truly subjective. What you “need” to be happy is also ultimately subjective. We always think we’re emotionally and physically dependent on something or someone for fulfillment, but truly your own independent struggle to find yourself is what you are dependent on. Without identity of self, what can you know about what you want, and what is truly worth the pain to be happy over. The push for happiness can be as simple as changing your mindset, working towards a dream you’ve always had- and as earlier mentioned, remembering the importance of little things as they contribute so much. What gives us true, and complete fulfillment is what should push us. Nobody should dictate what makes us happy, what we find contentment within, and control the flow of whimsy around us. Life is too damn short to care what people think of you, to dance in Fantastic Sam’s because they’re playing your favorite song. To pick up your mom and spin her around in Sprouts market because she gave you good news, while everyone else around you points and stares. Changing yourself, your goals, and your morals based on what you think other people want of you is one of the fastest ways to crush your soul, and crush your happiness. Happiness and contentment, however cheesy this sounds, should truly stem from your soul, and whatever it is, you know in your heart that you stand behind it one hundred percent.

    Why do people always strive for happiness instead of looking for it around themselves in the present?

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    1. I'm really glad you mentioned the taking time for the small things. I think those are what truly make us happy, whether we know it or not. The traveling part of this is great too. I've never been more happy than I am when I'm on a plane going somewhere new. Happiness isn't something that should be looked for, but instead noticed in the moment!

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  24. “Happiness” is a term that in this day and age has many different definitions. In my eyes happiness is knowing yourself and working towards what you need to make yourself happy. In order to achieve happiness I personally need to be aware of myself as a person and need to be able to make myself happy with who I am as a person. Striving to be someone you are not, someone else, will never lead to happiness; it will lead to a constant want for more in life. That is not to say striving to make yourself better is a bad thing, but I believe that striving to be someone you are not shows you are not happy with who you are and if you are not satisfied with yourself nothing will be able to make you happy until you are. In a perfect world happiness would be driven by helping others and gaining personal satisfaction from that, but a world like that would be very rare. I believe that if happiness was motivated and obtained by helping others and seeing others be satisfied with life that the world would be a much better place. We are sometimes blinding from becoming happiness by the inability to accept our personal flaws and instead trying to cover those up with greed or lust. The want to have more is the ultimate barrier in finding true happiness.
    When or if true happiness is finally obtained, what would a person’s motivation to move on in life be? Happiness is the ultimate goal but obtaining it is also the ultimate motivation and how would not having that motivation affect someone’s life even though they would be truly happy?

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  25. There are a few people that are saying that there is no definition for happiness, but I would have to disagree. To be happy is to be content with your life. Simple as that. But it's also easier said than done. To be truly happy, you have to be fine with where you are in life and not really want anything else. And that is why I can say that I am truly happy. I have my family, friends, a house, a bed, everything that I need and more. I have learned to be thankful for everything that I have and to be content with it. But that's not what makes me really happy. It's the freedom of choice that I have that makes me happy. I'm able to live without fear and I can still make my own decisions. It is clear that many people have a skewed view of what gives happiness. As Sanjay said, many believe that money and wealth is the source of happiness. But I believe that if someone has a lot of money, they would only want more, and therefore cannot be truly happy. And this leads me to my question. I have witnessed people who are genuinely joyful, although they were living in conditions that would otherwise be considered unlivable. How and why were they so happy?

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  26. I believe happiness is defined based on how content they are with life. If someone is thankful for what they have and see their privileges, then they can be happy. However, should someone only see what other's have and only want what they can't have, then they will never be happy. For me, I am truly happy because I have realized, only recently, that I have many privileges that others do not, and that even the things I want but don't have I see that those are only goals that I want to achieve. That is part of what I need to be happy. Competition. Without competition, I don't see a purpose in life, and that fact that I have found purpose in life makes me happy. What will get in people's way of finding happiness is when someone accepts defeat or disregards competition all together. Humans are built to want to compete, and when someone refuses to compete, they refuse to follow their instincts, which can lead to extreme unhappiness.

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  27. People say you can't buy happiness, which is true, but if you think about it, anyone would rather cry in their mansion than in their small little home. We may not be happy, but at least we're comfortable right?
    I believe fully that the things that make us truly happy are the little things. The things we forget to take a picture of, the things that we think back on and say "remember when". Happiness spurs from good deeds, or kind acts. It spurs from "Thank-you" cards and roses on Valentines Day. It comes from being up at two o'clock in the morning ranting about your feelings with your friends. We see something new and shiny and automatically think that we'll be happy if we have that. We may think we're happy, pretend to be happy, but really it's just a facade. Our money and social class mean so much to us that we tend to forget about these little things. We forget about that time when we waved to a baby across the store and it smiled and laughed at us. We forget about the time when all the windows were down in the car and all we could do was sing along as loud as we can, wind blowing through our hair. That new car makes us happy until it's old and we get bored, then it's just another thing. However, the picture we decided to take of a big group of friends never gets old, but instead brings a smile to our face. Happiness to me is the little things. What little things did you forget about? You'll find your "little things I've forgotten" list will bring back old memories of when you were truly happy, not pretending for the fun of it.

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    1. I agree with you that money can't buy happiness, but it can help in making a person more comfortable. I believe that happiness only comes from inside; however, I do think that before one can focus on their emotional needs, their basic needs must first be met. This is why I think that, to some extent, material wealth can help someone to achieve happiness.

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  28. I think it's funny how some people find it so easy to define what true happiness like it's something that can actually be achieved. I think that certain things in our lives can bring us little puffs of happiness and brighten our lives for a day, maybe a little longer. But truly, I don't think anyone can every be completely happy. It's just something human beings have created as some kind of goal to strive for in our short lives. Like I said, it's not like people can't find some happiness in things, but it's the overwhelming idea of pure happiness so-called enlightenment of the soul or something. Besides the fact that no one is ever completely happy, there are many things that can contribute to making someone an overall happier person. For example, finding someone to spend the rest of your life, who you enjoy spending your time with is bound to increase someone's happiness. You know, the feeling you get when a bouquet of flowers is sent to you in the mail! So, personally, I think that everyone needs love to be happy. Whether it be love from a significant other, a family member, or some friends. How lonely and sad would life be if no one cared enough to spend time with the people they loved. Personally, I think happiness should be driven by what inspires us to get up everyday and attack the challenges that come along with everything we do. Happiness should be driven by what makes us happy individually, while have an overall positive effect on the people that surround us, too. I think that all of the "advancements" that our society has made in technology has a really affected this happiness. It allows people to easily pretend to be happy online, while not really being happy in real life, which is throwing our society for a loop in terms of being able to maintain all of the relationships that are needed for a society to be happy. The only way to get as close to "real happiness" as we can is to appreciate the things that appear insignificant at the time, but contribute to our overall well-being. Do you think that our society as a whole will ever be satisfied with how far we've come? How far is too far, before people realize that not everyone is going to happy with the decisions we make as individuals?

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  29. Happiness can be made of special moments in one's life, little trinkets passed on by generations, an action that constitutes a positive outcome or maybe that song that makes you want to sing and dance like nobody is watching. Happiness to me is family, friends and knowing that for a second in time everything will be okay in life and that nothing will happen to you. I get this feeling when I sit by a warm fire during a cold winter day, when I get to see extraordinary animals living life just like myself. This is when all I can see is the last page in a book near which really makes me think about life in a new way. The sad part is that it all circles around me and that all I want to make me happy consists of me first. While I was on a rant about happiness, I didn't even shed light to the rest of the world and the ones that are truly struggling. That's just it. That's why we over indulge and become blind from true happiness is the fact that we are ONE. In order to be happy we must all be happy. Why do you suppose the contents of human nature is that of being selfish and greedy? What do you think a community would look like without that natural selfishness?

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  30. Happiness is a complicated matter. I think that this is true primarily because there are two kinds of happiness: temporary and permanent. Often times, one can be mistaken for the other, so people continue to do the things that keep them temporarily satisfied. They buy lots of nice things, go lots of nice places, and trick themselves into believing that they are happy people. The truth is that happiness comes entirely from the inside. One does not need any material goods in order for them to be happy, but rather spiritual and emotional fulfillment. Happiness is something that a person brings to life, not something that they get from it. As humans, I believe we are all attracted to happiness, but those who achieve it are able to push past the façade of happiness created by society. These people are able to grasp the idea that long term happiness comes from spirituality, familial bonds, friendship, and the desire to be content. I think that in order to be happy and focus on emotional needs, one must have their primary needs met, such as food and water; furthermore, once a humans basic requirements are satisfied, happiness is a choice. Like Sanjay said, society's glorified version of happiness can act as a distraction to true happiness. People, like Fitzgerald, get wrapped up in temporary happiness, which revolves around success in a career and an extravagant, carefree lifestyle. Once a person has focused their efforts on being temporarily happy, they can be completely blinded from becoming a happy person on the inside. Do the requirements for happiness change as your life changes? Once you obtain happiness can you lose it? How?

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  31. I believe that what constitutes happiness if waking up every day and being excited for what it to come. It is loving what you do and loving the people you surround yourself with. It is making your own decisions and being satisfied with those decisions. It is pride and confidence. Happiness is a combination of an abundance of things.
    For me to be happy, I need laughter, family, and sports. If I am ever feeling sad or unhappy, a simple joke that gets a minor chuckle out of me can turn my whole attitude around. Also, my family makes me happy. They do this by letting me know I can trust them and they will be there for me. Finally, sports make me happy. I love competing and I love winning. I am always happy after I win something, sports or not.
    I think a lot of things can hinder us from being happy. I think one of these things is money. I think people begin to think that money means happiness, so focus on money, and not what truly makes them happy.
    Why do people think that possessing money means being happy?

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