“So many conditions of happiness are available; more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future to get more.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Everything we do in life, every action, thought, word, and belief we hold is part of an effort to connect with that joyful, happy place inside our being. We share our insights, we strive, we connect, we struggle, all for the good feelings that arise in our hearts; a feeling of accomplishment that we’ve made a difference, contributed to the world, or helped another soul. Recently, I was reading about Oprah’s trip to India and how much fun she had traveling through parts of the country. She met lots of people there and in a wonderful interview she had with Deepak Chopra, she asked him an important question: What’s the Secret to a Happy Life? Deepak’s response was quite insightful. He explained that having a happy life means “to recognize that no matter what the situation, there’s a creative opportunity in it. Also, finding meaning and purpose in your life to make a contribution. And ultimately the secret is to make other people happy.” I liked the insertion of the creative impulse in his answer.
Deepak added an important caveat to that thought… On the subject of happiness, he said that it must begin with self care and clarity about our own creativity and goals; even in the midst of uncertainty. Happiness is our ability to embrace the wisdom of uncertainty, because if everything is certain, where is the creativity? I like the idea of seeing creative opportunities in uncertain situations and the idea led to this post. Below are 26 ways/words and quotes (from A to Z) that express happiness. Since this is a work in progress, I will update it with more ideas/insights. Happiness is a word bandied around a lot and sometimes used to hurt others. However, the good that comes of hurtful situations is that it helps us appreciate life’s happy moments even more. It helps us appreciate our friends and family more. So lets go on and embrace our happy self. We earned it. What are your thoughts? What word or group of words on happiness resonate with you most?
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” Helen Keller
Acceptance - True happiness is an acceptance of life as it is given to us, with its diminishment, mystery, uncontrollability, and all. Michael Gellert. Accepting shifts and living life = happiness.
Bliss – It’s good to be just plain happy, it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss. Henry Miller. We are all bliss in different colored gift boxes.
Contentment – Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment. Mahatma Gandhi. When we are content with our choices, our happiness isn’t compromised.
Delight – The pleasure which we most rarely experience gives us greatest delight. Epictetus. When we dance with abandon like the whirling dervishes, releasing all worries and care, happiness meets us there.
Enjoyment/Euphoria – Life is to be enjoyed, not simply endured. Pleasure and goodness and joy support the pursuit of survival. Willard Gaylin. Enjoy your life as it is now.
Feeling – Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. Storm Jameson. Our feelings differ but our happiness doesn’t.
Growth - Growth itself, contains the germ of happiness. Pearl S. Buck. Grace in all things is another that springs happy to mind
Harmony – Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi. Harmony also means at peace with life’s ebb and flow.
Inspiration – The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness. Henry David Thoreau. Inspiration comes when we least expect it.
Joy – Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. Robert Louis Stevenson. We are embodiments of joy.
Kindness – To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. Mary Stuart. Add compassion for all life to that too.
“Remember this, very little is needed to make a happy life.” Marcus Aurelius
Love – Happiness is in your ability to love others. Leo Tolstoy. And in loving ourselves too.
Mirthful/Music – Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth. William Blake. Music and mirth complete the joy on many levels.
Nurturing – To go from mortal to Buddha, you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness, and accept what life brings. Bodhidharma. Self nurturing is not narcissistic, it is life saving – self preservation.
Optimistic/Open – Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. John Barrymore. And embrace it however it shows up.
Precious – Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is. Maxim Gorky. Happiness can come as small as a wink.
If our purpose in life is to be happy, what stops us from focusing our energies on what truly makes us happy? If my idea of happiness is a long walk on the aqueduct, why chuck it out for endless hours on a treadmill? If your idea of happiness is enjoying the company of real life friends, why set it aside for something less real? We deny ourselves for reasons that are as individualized as we are; some psychological and some not. But the key is to continually ask ourselves the question: What is stopping me? Then begin or go back to the process of self care… More below!