Happiness is personal – you need to define and create your own version

Imagine you found the most comfortable pair of shoes … for you.

Do you think I’d also think they were the most comfortable pair of shoes?

I hope not; because the answer could easily be “no”.

Why? because we have different sized and shaped feet; and we most likely do different things thus using our feet differently (think walking versus running versus other forms of exercise etc).

Well, the same is true of happiness; it means different things for different people. It will look different for all of us …

via Psychology Today by Ahron Friedberg


  • No one can tell you how to be happy.
  • You can discover your own happiness by making good choices and making the most of them.
  • Being happy is a process of becoming happier rather than an end state.
  • My “prescription” is finding a personal pathway that makes the most of where you are with the end in sight.

Kyoto StationSource: PICRYL

No one can tell you how to be happy. It’s too complex, too transitory to be subject to precise directions. It comes and goes. It depends on how your life evolves.

Maybe you were happy in college, but then law school, a job, and a mortgage left you wondering: Where’d it all go? In fact, Albert Camus mused that just looking for happiness (and trying to define what it is) keeps you from being happy. For him, happiness sort of happens, without self-consciousness, without investigating possible states of being. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

But here’s the catch. This sense of a cosmic toss-up could itself make you unhappy. So, are we stuck in a logical bind?

Not really.

While I can’t prescribe what might make you happy, I think you can (with some help) discover happiness. You can make choices that fit your own needs. You can ramp up your self-awareness as you begin defining what happiness can be—specifically, your own. And with a nod to Camus, you can embrace the notion that happiness is often the reward for delayed gratification: We’re not happy, and then finally we are, partly because it’s okay to let up on trying so hard. Thus, any happiness “prescription” starts with helping each person to find their own way.

This emphasis on how each person gets to be happy—that is, on the process, rather than on the ultimate, individualized state—is what sets my approach apart from others that tell you, point blank, what it takes to be happy. While you can learn from a set of curated directions, I am not convinced that formula, however well-intended, can carry you through the many dimensions that you traverse as you grow, change, and wrestle with unpredictable challenges. Simply put, one size doesn’t fit all. If you look closely, in fact, most theorists don’t even agree on what happiness is…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

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