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Amily shaw

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another way to look at happiness?

happiness make us feel good.
we dont like pain...
when talking about happiness people always tell you "how to" ,like some strategies,philosophies,skills .it makes me think why not talk us about the things we try to avoid(pain,sufferings-the oppsite of happiness),not in a sense that we need to enjoy these things but rather what we can learn from these.and maybe that will creat new understanding of what happiness is .what do you guys think?

Topics: happiness
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    May 4 2011: Happiness, like anger or any other emotion, are not absolute, and can varey person to person as to how that emotion is brought on.
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      May 4 2011: yes Tim.i agree with you happiness is relative.so dose any adjectives ,right?
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      Jun 4 2011: Tim Colgan, Amily, Birdia,
      You're contemplating "a simple time when you felt good".

      I thought I would bring up the comment by the other Tim, which was one of the first comments in the thread, and one I agree with. How emotions are brought on, is an important factor, don't you think? Understanding what creates happiness in ourselves and how to focus on that feeling, may varey from person to person. I believe that what we focus on expands. We can have an underlying feeling of contentment, regardless of the circumstances of our lives...what do you think?

      I agree Birdia...happiness cannot be measured, but it can be treasured. I think treasuring the moments of happiness/contentment with gratitude, builds a foundation of that feeling/emotion. That's simply "another way to look at happiness":>)
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        Jun 8 2011: hey Colleen i think you come up with a good point that one can be suffering and being contented at the same time!! and i guess that contentment is sustained by hope!
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          Jun 8 2011: Hey Amily:>)
          For me, contentment is sustained by focusing on what I am learning from the experience, which perhaps embraces hope:>) We are multi-sensory beings, and can experience different emotions at the same time if we are open to that possibility. Sometimes, the focus may be as simple as..."it's a beautiful sunny day..."I'm biking with wonderful friends...or playing in the gardens". Even when challenged, there is usually something to be grateful for. When my body, mind and heart were challenged from the head injury, for example, I focused on the fact that today I walked 10 steps, which was twice as many as I could walk yesterday. Hooray!!! I celebrated and congratulated myself:>) I focused on the love and support that was extended to me by so many people, and my focus, allowed me to move through the challenge without suffering.

          The Dalai Lama says pain is inevitable, suffering optional, and I agree with that statement. Suffering, is usually caused by holding onto the pain, so if we can focus on something different, it sometimes changes our perception of our experience, and the world around us:>) I'm not suggesting ignoring the pain, because that gives us information as well. I'm suggesting recognizing the pain and changing our focus, to create another way to look at happiness:>)
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    May 28 2011: Is happiness a good thing if the factors creating happiness are from delusional and/or ignorant considerations/understandings?
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      May 28 2011: As always...good question Nicholas:>)

      It seems like a feeling of happiness that comes from delusion or ignorance may be very superficial? In another section of this discussion, we talk about "depth". Do you think we may all experience happiness on many different levels? Could our depth of happiness influence our life in many different ways? For example, I feel that people who are happy simply because they have more materialistically, are genuinely happy, as they percieve happiness. I believe there are many more layers of happiness (I prefer to call it contentment) that we can reach by considering, understanding and being mindfull of more information. What do you think?
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        May 28 2011: "Do you think we may all experience happiness on many different levels?"

        Yes, the more aware you are to the contributing factors of what is making you happy the more effective the positive emotions are; a hobby makes you happy because it keeps you distracted or busy, now when you think about it again it turns out you are gaining mental/physical benefits from the hobby, then you begin to expand your hobby into other hobbies or into a more advanced hobby, this change allows more positive emotions to come with performing said hobby.

        For this example: A person basket weaving to just kill time will never be as happy as the person basket weaving to make a living, keep their hands strong, and going to basket weaving conferences

        "Could our depth of happiness influence our life in many different ways?"

        Yes, I mean now that I am a serious basket weaver, I can travel the planet and sell my baskets or even teach other how to make these awesome baskets. Depending on the individual, the basket weaver may just open business and sell from one location and build partnerships that are both dependable and reliable. Another person may just sell an instruction video on how to basket weave. Perhaps an individual gives away a basket for every one they sell to charity.. All people happy from their hobby, different choices of progression involving it.

        Now you can replace "hobby" with just about anything that would bring positive emotions to an individual in life.

        Money can bring happiness, yes, however even rich people can have poor people problems, who is so rich they cannot be heart broken? Scared? Angry? Annoyed? The events that make them lash out these emotions may be different but they will feel the same.

        If you never had to worry about eating later, the emotions you feel when you broke your favorite pen your dead father gave you could be the same as the person who is worried about feeding their family tomorrow morning. Although the situations are different emotions aren't.
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          May 28 2011: WOW DUDE...you mention some GREAT concepts:>)
          "Aware of contributing factors, mental/physical benefits. positive emotions, teach, build partnerships, different choices..."

          It sounds like all of this might tend to build confidence? Strength? Self-esteem? Empowerment in oneself? These are some of the concepts I learned when facing cancer and a near fatal head injury. It seems like whether we are weaving baskets, or facing life threatening challenges, we have the opportunity to learn some of the same things, if we are aware of the concepts you mention above:>) That could change our perception of what happiness/contentment actually is, and give us a new way to look at happiness:>)
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        May 30 2011: http://news.discovery.com/human/near-death-brain.html

        I read it, and thought about your previous comments of the near-death experience and thought you would enjoy this article I read.

        Also delusional thoughts can attribute to happiness; ignorance, fundamental beliefs, patterned logic, and/or "traditionalized illusions" create/contribute to deluded thoughts. "It is easy to be happy when you do not have many thoughts going on inside of your head" is as simple as I can put it lol.

        "In other words, the more optimistic one's predictions, the less accurate, but more productive, one is." - http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sapient-nature/201105/delusion-productivity-and-success

        Maybe a connection between why education sucks the big one and why our government still enjoys to attack teachers? Just a thought-provoker.

        Anyways Colleen, do you a new perspective of a new way to look at happiness would make people more happy? Or what?
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          May 30 2011: Good Articles Nicholas...thanks:>)

          Yes, I do believe that a different perspective causes people to be happier. What we focus on expands. If we focus on the challenges, problems, and difficulties in our lives, we are actually programing our brain to percieve our world and our life in a certain way.

          For example, I hear a LOT of people in western culture complaining that they do not have enough money...do not have enough "things"...do not have enough time. Their perception of not having enough, sometimes causes stress and unhappiness. The truth is, that our culture is very abundant compared to some cultures in other parts of the world. We actually create a delusion by believeing that we don't have enough. People who have very little materialistically, are often more content. So, who is the more "delusional"?

          I am a very postive person, and for that reason, people have often told me I'm "not facing reality"..."living in a fantasy world". I ask whose reality? Whose fantasy? It is mine, and if it facilitates a productive, content life, what's the problem with that? I believe we create our own reality...we program our mind with our thoughts, words and actions in each and every moment.

          It is not productive to ONLY focus on the positive aspects of life, so to experience the balance, it's important to be aware of all of it. I think it is unproductive if we live our lives in one or the other polarities. What do you think?

          BTW, I'm told that while unconscious, hooked up to life support systems, I was smiling and giving my visitors thumbs up! How's that for delusional??? LOL:>)
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        May 30 2011: I agree on everything except that people are able to make up their own reality (actuality), this isn't always true. Being indoctrinated into a religion, having friends who share that religion, and never being challenged about your religion means you are going to live in that reality of religion being true and the rest of the world relates to that "truth". Doesn't have to be religion, anything that can revolve around educations can be a source for deluded thoughts.

        "It is not productive to ONLY focus on the positive aspects of life, so to experience the balance, it's important to be aware of all of it. I think it is unproductive if we live our lives in one or the other polarities."

        I can't agree more.

        Lol, that wouldn't be delusional at all Colleen! But it is a positive sign.
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          May 30 2011: When I say we create our own reality, I'm speaking of those of us who are free to make our own decisions. I agree that being indoctrinated into a certain belief system sometimes makes choices more difficult. However, at some point in time, as adults, we make choices, and if we have questioned the belief system we were indoctrinated into, we can make a choice to change...again...assuming we are free to make choices.

          I was born into a Catholic family and practiced the religion superficially for years. From the time I was a child, however, I was always questioning the teachings. At age 19, when I moved out of my parent's house, I made a choice to NOT go to mass on Sunday, and honestly, I was waiting all day for the bolt of lightening that would strike me dead and send me to hell!!! LOL

          So, I KNOW we have choices...I made one...actually...I've made quite a few:>) In order to make good choices in our life, it's important to question and explore information. That's what you're doing, and I admire and appreciate that in you:>)
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          Jun 1 2011: @ Colleen "At age 19, when I moved out of my parent's house, I made a choice to NOT go to mass on Sunday, and honestly, I was waiting all day for the bolt of lightening that would strike me dead and send me to hell!!"

          You have not waited long enough.
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    May 28 2011: Agree with yourself & Michael that absence of sufferings / pain turns happiness meaningless .There are some people out there they take the bite of pain willingly, to find the real meaning of happiness.

    That can turn people more empathetic. Just few days back , while roaming on TV remote from channel to channel got stuck with a program.......

    Some youth upscale or mid economic strata of England in an experimental journey came to one of the 3rd world countries and tried to become Garments workers & live in the same condition of those workers of the BIG labels they buy in high street of London

    Many times in their short journey of few days they bursted in to tears and vowed they will think twice before buying any clothes, before throwing away clothes half used to buy new one.

    Obserbing the hard work to take care old parents of those poor workers couple them started talking to their parents over phone everyday and started crying while talking to their parents and felt they have not cared much about their parents..........
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      May 28 2011: Good story Salim:>)
      Participating in, and witnessing the challenges, caused these young people to be more aware of the gifts they have in their own life? That's one reason I find traveling to remote areas of our world so educational and enlightening. Sometimes, we don't appreciate everyone and everything around us that can contribute to our happiness, until we witness something different, or until it's gone.
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        May 28 2011: Thanks Colleen.
        Travelling really is a good way of learning , it just opens up mind like anything, as there is a saying "seeing is believing"
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          May 28 2011: Salim,
          I agree that traveling mindfully opens up the heart and mind. Western cultures are so abundant compared to many places in our world, and it seems like many people are not aware of the circumstances some people live in. One thing I've noticed, is that in poorer countries, many times people seem more content, than those living in more abundant places. In a way, perhaps abundance causes more distractions, which prevent us from experiencing true happiness on many levels?
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        Jun 9 2011: Hi Colleen

        Your above post reminded me one oth event I read in one of masterpiece of Bangla literature. It was story of a poor boy of a village , the time scale might be 30's or 40s.That poor kid with slightly elder sister was roaming around in the village , they saw the kids of a rich family of village buying sweets , from a vendor. They were looking to it, and was waiting thinking either those kids or the vendor might give them a small portion to taste. But it didn't happen.....

        Then being elder the sister told her younger brother , don't worry , we don't have money , but there are plently sweeter fruits available in jungle next to our hous let's go there.They ran there after a search they found some small ripe berry kind wild fruit , which people usually don't eat or consider those as fruit, but kids of village with all their curiosity tries. So they picked some of those and passed those in to mouth tasting the remnance of slightest of the slight sweetness in it she exclaimed with enormous joy told to brother ,

        "You see, I told you, these are sweeter than those sweets made of sugar of vendor" ....... The brother agreed and laughed with joy as well and told let's find a few more............

        Writer wrote then , though society is depriving these poor kids from many things , mother nature has kept enough for them to be happy....Guess it resonates what you said above................

        Good day Colleen
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      May 28 2011: Hi Salim!
      I found your story fascinating. So would you say that it is important to understand when our happiness is at the expense of others? Is that the main lesson of what you saw?
      I think that is a profound message. Happiness that comes, even in ignorance, from the exploitation of others is not very noble.
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        May 28 2011: Good point Debra. Understanding is always helpful:>)
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        May 28 2011: Hi DebraYou know I presumed this question will come definitely .........I also thought about it while watching that. The equation seems to be very complex . Though in my utopic thoughts, I wonder one day Humankind can be happy at the same time at the same way, & can get rid of all kind of exploitation to be happy.

        Like you, I know why it happens ? Answers are manyfold factors, like societal injustice , political hipocracy, economic exploitation, religious brutality etc etc created that imbalance over many thousand years.
        You, Colleen, our friends here , out there & myself who hold similar thoughts may not be able to bring a change in that imbalance (which says many of our happiness comes at the expense of unhappiness of others), but at least can be aware of that , feel happy thinking we are fotunate enough not being caught in that trap of unhappiness and hardship & try to go to the next level of empathy...... that's the way I tried to look into it.........

        Above dark side of the humankind was human made. But other pains which are natural, biological or genetic which we are trying conquer through science but not yet successful solving all. We can take that example as well, as many times when I can't buy an expensive nice shoe & felt bad unhappy , could equal times think what about the person who has legs but those not working properly ( using analogy of a old story I heard from my father as a Kid).

        That's the other message I wanted to grasp.
        Thanks for your usual thought provokating question Debra.
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          May 28 2011: Salim,
          It would be wonderful to some day get rid of all kind of exploitation in our world, and I agree that there are many factors which drive exploitation, which have been in place throughout history. I think we can all make at least small changes starting with awareness of the situations, as you insightfully mention. Once we are aware of the challenge, we can contribute as much as possible to the effort to prevent exploitation.
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      May 30 2011: You are so right when you point out that suffering will always be with us but I absolutely believe that it is each of our responsibility to leave as little of it in our own wakes as possible. Awareness of our actions on the lives of others is a fundamental task of living well.
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      May 30 2011: Salim ,yes too often in life that its only when we get know what others dont have that we realise what we do have .
  • May 2 2011: I totally agree with you, I think a life without suffering would be meaningless. Firstly, I think it can teach us empathy and humility, and I think it can be difficult to have these qualities if we haven't suffered. For example, I know one man who comes from money. He was also a professional athlete as well as a CFO of a large Corporation during his career. An amazing career it was, no doubt. He was also an arrogant, elitist, and sometimes violent wife-beating bully until he suffered from liver cancer, and after the experience he became much more humble. One day, after I had had an argument with a relative he touched me on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry Michael, we're all different, just accept people as they are". I was shocked. Such guru-like simplicity from a man who used to literally measure people by the number of zeroes in their bank accounts. While he is still a bully at times (old habits die hard), he has improved dramatically, and I feel this is due to the lesson of suffering.
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      May 3 2011: Michael thank you for sharing that story ! with the obesession of being happy, it could be very easy for us to look at pains and sufferings very negatively.and wether we like it or not it is still a part of our real lives.

      like empathy and humility you mentioned ,these are what make us human and so important to step out of self-centered world.
      • May 4 2011: Amily I always remember William Blake, the English poet in Auguries of Innocence:

        "It is right it should be so:
        Man was made for joy and woe;
        And when this we rightly know
        Through the world we safely go."

        I think what he is saying is that when we accept our suffering and our joy, we can live our lives to the full.
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          May 4 2011: Michael i really appreciate your idea of living our lives to the full . it help us accept life as it is and explore the depth wedth of it which will give us sense of meaning(not necessarily happines)

          very nice poem and thanks to you Michael and William Blake!
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          May 24 2011: Michael and Amily,
          I totally agree that challenges usually cause us to be more accepting, aware, humble and loving. It is by facing the challenges that we become stronger and more secure in ourselves. I like to call the underlying feeling contentment, rather than happiness, simply because there seems to be many different perceptions of happiness. Contentment seems to be more clear for me. Maybe that's what you refer to as the "depth" Amily?

          Nice poem Michael. I agree that we move through this world more easily when we accept the challenges with an underlying feeling of contentment in our hearts.
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          May 25 2011: Colleen , thanks for expanding that idea . by" depth " i mean something we can never learn from being "happy".
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          May 28 2011: Amily,
          I believe that to reach the "depth" in ourselves, it is important to recognize all parts of our "self", and happiness is one of those parts, don't you think? In another thread, you stated that smiling is one part of the big picture, and I think happiness is part of the big picture as well. My perception, is that we can learn from each moment and every emotion we experience. Happiness is part of the whole...is it not? I think the pursuit and focus on happiness to the exclusion of all other emotions, is not helpful, may keep us on a more superficial level in our mind and heart, and not take us to the depth we may be seeking.
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          May 30 2011: Exactly ,Colleen.happiness is a part of the whole. thanks for bringing that into light ! i share your perceptions too!
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    Mar 30 2011: I think that is an excellent way to change our perspective. We often fall into the mistake of trying to measure our growth and our progress as moving closer to some destination, but that is flawed because the future is always moving. In your mindset, we could measure our progress as moving away from some starting point.
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      Mar 30 2011: your thinking build more to my idea.i can imagine how people could feel discouraged when compared with others(and if they fail) in achieving the same goal instead of being encouraged looking at the vertical progresses that has been made.and that really affects how we see our growth,dosen't it?
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        May 23 2011: I agree Erik, that we often measure growth or success as moving closer to, or achieving the goal or destination. Not only is the future always moving, but the present is always moving as well, if we are living fully in the moment. What we focus on expands, so if we are focusing on the destination, we may be missing the "vertical progresses" as you call it Amily:>) I find that there is so much information available to us if we open our heart and mind to the present moment.

        "Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination".
        (Roy M. Goodman)
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          May 24 2011: Colleen, I agree with you.
          We must examine each moment, for withing each, no matter how painful holds a lesson that prepares us for the next challenge. There can be no more elation as in having found the reasons for your steps and the purpose of you charge. I have learned that from a new and valued friend.

          If life is a journey and I believe that it is, happiness then must be found in each step along the way, for the destinations are few and the journey is long.

          So a new way to look at happiness is to seek it out in each step, in each lesson along the way. It is in the fulfilling of a dream and not in the attaining of it where happiness resides.
          For every destination must surely be just a rest stop, a momentary place to map the next steps onward.

          Some people find joy, love and happiness in the simplest of things because they look for it and have learned to identify it's characteristics. Other arrive at the greatest of destinations and find nothing of lasting value there for value from achievement alone is fleeting and will never satiate the spirit.
          After all happiness does not come from the eyes, it is not a sensory thing but rather it flows from the heart it is a spiritual thing.
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        May 24 2011: Well said Brian!
        This seems to be exactly what Amily is getting at with her question. Can we find happiness in aspects of life that are not commonly thought of as happy? I like to say I have become comfortable with discomfort. I recognize the gifts available to me when facing the challenges and moving through them with awareness. Great way to put it Brian..."seek it out in each step...in each lesson along the way".
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    Jun 2 2011: Amily: You made an interesting topic. But I'm having trouble coming up with a good answer. Help me.

    Think of a time when you felt happy. It doesn't need to be the best time of your life or anything. Just a simple time when you felt good. Describe that time to me. Where were you? What was the sensation? What made you feel that way?
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      Jun 3 2011: emmm a simple time and felt happy...... ill share one that happened yesterday. i was sittig on bed with my guitar practising chords and felt so free to utter whatever words to go along with it. just feel good to be free.

      so...?
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        Jun 3 2011: Well, I thought the answer to your question was probably a simple one, but I wasn't sure how to phrase it. I think you did a perfect job.

        Happiness is just good moments. And Birdia's right. It's up to each of us to treasure them.
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    May 31 2011: Cicero said you had to have been a slave to appreciate being a free man... and I think Happiness in the absence of a yardstick to measure it against would lose it's power.
    - Not sure what the ideal ratio would be, but it might be (and I'm just throwing this out there), 5 happy days to 2 less-happy days.
    - What makes you happy? I don't think it's the absence of misery, I think they are on slightly different planes not either end of a continuum. The absence of the things that make you happy (see below) don't make you miserable; the absence of what makes you miserables (death, suffering, broken heart...) doesn't make you happy
    - So what does make you happy? I think 3 things, and indeed these 3 things can be nurtured, so your happiness farmed. 1) Love, 2) Applause (folks think your book was great; fab cooking; great speech; done a great project there etc); 3) Sex (in the literal sense; but also i'd including Dancing, Eating etc in there, physical pleasures. So, it's Love, Applause and Sex (or as a friend of mine said, don't you mean Sex, Applause and Love)!
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      Jun 1 2011: Hi James The absence of the things that make you happy (see below) don't make you miserable; the absence of what makes you miserables (death, suffering, broken heart...) doesn't make you happy-good point there.

      thanks for sharing what you think brings happiness.
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    May 30 2011: Women in Bangladesh fight back. I didnt find any womens threads to post this on, but another way of looking at happiness is lessening of misery.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13594762
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      May 31 2011: what you mean by lessening of misery ?
      or are you saying that another way to pursue happiness is lessening of misery?
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          May 31 2011: Hi Birdia thanks for that clarification.You are free to ask any question;) and to that one ,Birdia i have always believe that when it comes to life and man there's never a simple answer YES or NO.so i guess i would say there are times that i feel happy and there are times that i feel differently.

          are people around me happy? i see people around me laughs and cries.i am not sure whether happiness can be word to conclude.

          sure you may and its a good question.the reason i asked about it is that i noticed a lot of books , videos and philosophy of being happy.and thats good.but what about the parts that we are not sure of in our lives?i just think it would be good to face life as it is .as Micheal pointed it out live life to the full. and then when you turn back youll find what makes a life worthwhile.
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          May 31 2011: Yes you are right Birdia. Also happiness is relative. Consider this a man is on death row and going to be executed - he is unhappy - then on the day of his execution as he is being led off he gets the news that his death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment - he is happy, He is still in prison but his misery is less.
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          May 31 2011: the products of happiness?! you got me hooked.could you say more about it?
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          May 31 2011: Happiness , are little things, the smile and laughter of a child. Its infectious, when people around you are happy it makes you happy. You make someone happy and you get happiness.
          Looking at animals, going on a roller coaster, playing games, swimming, eating a good meal, sharing a joke.
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          Jun 1 2011: Birdia , i thought about that one- looking at it by its product. its about measuring how happy people are.and yes i think it can be used to other concepts.

          Richard , surely happiness is contagious.and that just reminds me again to enjoy every little thing!
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    May 3 2011: Let me start my answer with a quote that Jesus said. "Give, and it will be given to you... for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." So everything depends on you, the mathematics and physics of the universe/the world make it easy for you. Whatever you give out in life, must return to you (in life again!).
    The only small problem is you. Whenever you think or try to think, you either give positive or negative point of views/opinions/thoughts/feelings...etc.
    Even great philosophers, mathematicians and physicists said it indirectly, this is an example "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" ~ Newton
    Usually, when you give-you receive. You can also quote the law of attraction to your subject and topic.
    Everything is linked in the world.
    Why not defining happiness? we can say that it is a state of well-being made by contentment or intense joy.
    You cannot create happiness, you can only decide in mind what you want from it, because you have the ability to think and imagine and talk about what you love, is it unlimited, and so then, you can bring everything good (positive infinite) in life to you!
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      May 4 2011: Hi Mario its true when we give we also receive and its us who makes whatever out of life.

      why not define happiness? i guess people try hard to do so.but the thing is everyone has their own definations of what happiness is and what's important to them.and it is vague and changes over time.