• Lisa L
  • Staten Island, NY
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

What does it mean to be happy?

What aspects of one's life are necessary to feel fulfilled? How do you define happiness?

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    Jun 2 2011: I'm guessing, it's a bit like Catch-22. Those who are happy are never asking themselves what it is to be happy and exploring the idea... Those who are unhappy are always looking for the answer, but have never experienced it, so don't know the answer!
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    Jun 12 2011: I believe that happiness is NOT a "Eureka" feeling. But a revolving contement of the ebb and flow of life....not resistant to it but flowing with it...acceptance.
  • Jun 2 2011: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Gandhi. In other words happiness you feel when you are in a peaceful state of mind, when you accept who you are, when you have the courage to be imperfect, when you live a balanced life, when you love yourself and others, when you are kind to yourself and others, when you feel compassion and understand yourself and others….when you connect your life with the present, enjoy the present and appreciate your present life. We could be easily happier if we let ourselves.
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    Jun 14 2011: Happiness is much more about letting go of unhelpful perceptions and thought patterns than a destination you reach. If you're going to be happy when....then even if you get there, the happiness is short-lived.

    Happiness, to me, is the unpacking of the emotional rocks you carry around with you. Recognize what they are, and drop them. A sense of peace with oneself, with one's connection in the world/universe, relating to other people in a healthy way and finding and pursuing your purpose. This would be the areas to be fulfilled. And fulfillment can be right now, no matter where you are on the path--just knowing you're headed in the right direction can fulfill you. It's not about achievement.
  • Jun 13 2011: Happinessis what you feel when you know that you have not done any thing wrong and and thouught of any wrong things in your mind
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    Jun 13 2011: Happiness is a state of mind.
    For different people there would be different attainments/aspects which, when fulfilled, would bring them happines.
  • Jun 12 2011: It is feeling that inner smile that lets you approach life from a positive perspective.
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    Jun 10 2011: What aspects of one's life are necessary to feel fulfilled- That depends on the person and what your desires are. If a little boy wants to be a basketball player when he grows up one aspect in his life he would need to fulfill in his life being athletic or strong. Now that doesn't mean that you only need one area to fulfill to be happy. People also are fulfilled when they are the best version of themselves. Or in other words they just want to be successful in every area possible.
    How do you define happiness- Happiness is an emotion. It's a state of mind you put yourself in when you are enjoying something. Whether that's a moment of peace and quiet, finishing a paper on time, making a home run, ect.
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    Jun 6 2011: For me, happiness is when I think I'm about to achieve something. Even if it's a nap. I find happiness very motivating.
  • Jun 5 2011: Hi - this is my first post, so I hope you feel honored :p

    Sorry if you are actually after my OWN definition but...I think wiki is spot on - it says "Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy".

    This says there are various levels of happiness which I think we all agree with, but as long as whatever you are experiencing is providing positive cues for a state of well-being then I would assume you are happy at that time. Of course you can be happy one minute then unhappy the next - but that is not to say you are unhappy in general. For the sake of argument we say neutral (if it exists) is rated 0, happiness could go from 1 to 10, and unhappiness from -1 to -10, as long as most of your time is in the positive (or averaged out) - that would suggest you are happy in general. Whatever the combination of cues come from are definitely individualistic of course.
    To me I would perhaps go a step further and suggest that (true) happiness comes when you can accept death/when you are 'prepared' to die at any minute. I might need to explain that further but will leave it here for now.
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    Jun 5 2011: Ability to smile like a baby.
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      Jun 5 2011: Salim, I absolutely love that. Laughing like a baby is even better!

      Sometimes you have the ability to distill something down to its essence just like a poet!
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        Jun 6 2011: Debra, you are right , laugh is a better word and was the first word to come in my thought but immediately opted for "SMILE" , firstly to be lyrical with the question in my answer :)

        Secondly thought two words express different degree of happiness (in babies, as adult can smile for wrong reason as well) and smile may be the milder one , so if milder one captured than intense one will obviously be inclusive as well.

        As we grew up to adulthood , we actually lost 2 abilities , one is ability to be happy and another is CURIOSITY.

        Once I had a desire to be poet.........now at least my friend Debra thinks sometimes that sparks..... it's a great compliment Debra !!!
  • Jun 5 2011: happy means nothing.
    if you are nothing ,then you would be happy.
    if you are something .you wont be happy.
    and never chasing happiness,let hapiness to find you.
    • Jun 11 2011: Wow Liaw, very profound!:)
  • Jun 3 2011: In my opinion happiness comes from within,people can make you happier but they cannot make you happy the responsibility lies within yourself.It's irrational to think that you can be happy all the time ,sorrow visits all of our life's and just maybe happy people deal with it easier.
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    Jun 2 2011: Each individual must perceive what happiness is to them on a personal level, or else it won't have a lasting impact. What is happiness to me may be absolute rubbish to someone else and vis versa. That in mind, happiness is finding what you like to do best, and being able to do it. It is being with the people you love, friends, family, and enjoying special, small moments with them.

    Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs does play a role in the scheme of my life as well though. For instance, in order for me to be happy, I need to know that I have a home, food, water, and clothes. I also need to know that I am safe in the environment I'm in, that I'm loved for who I am, but also that I am comfortable with myself.

    On a personal level, happiness is leaning back into the chest of the person you love, being able to rest your head on their shoulder, and not having to say anything at all because in that moment, everything is perfect.
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    Jun 14 2011: Happiness is being positively intelligent
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    Jun 13 2011: There is not "one" rule of getting to the happiness. We all got our own definition of it from our experiences, the things we learned to the thing we've lost. If I have to define one thing it will be "trust". Going where we want to without thinking too much. "-Always doing the things that scared us" basically.
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    Jun 13 2011: For me happiness is what you have achieved was what you realy needed.
  • Jun 13 2011: True happiness is wanting no more
    happiness to be happy,
    it is accepting what is.
    I will be happy.
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    Jun 13 2011: Elinore Roosevelt wrote:

    Many people will walk in and out of your life,
    But only true friends will leave footprints in our heart.
    To handle yourself, use your head;
    To handle others, use your heart.
    Anger is only one letter short of danger.
    If someone betrays you once, it is his fault;
    If he betrays you twice, it is your fault.
    Great minds discuss ideas;
    Average minds discuss events;
    Small minds discuss people.
    He who loses money, loses much;
    He, who loses a friend, loses much more;
    He, who loses faith, loses all.
    Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,
    But beautiful old people are works of art.
    Learn from the mistakes of others.
    You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
    Friends, you and me...
    You brought another friend...
    And then there were three..
    We started our group..
    Our circle of friends..
    And like that circle..
    There is no beginning or end..
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery
    Today is a gift,
    that's why it's called the present.
  • Jun 12 2011: Environmental stimulation produces emotion. If the stimulation produces what could be classified as pain, one would be unhappy. If the stimulation produces what could be classified as pleasure, one would be happy. So, put simply, what makes someone happy is whatever pleases them.
    What makes this question interesting is the relative nature of classifying stimuli. For example, if breathing (respiration) was really a painful, horrible experience that caused aging and all evil in the world, we wouldn't know, because we need to breathe to survive for biological reasons. Only if we discovered a way to live without breathing could we determine whether it is a pleasurable or painful experience.
    As we currently exist, however, we like to breathe because it prevents the pain of suffocation. That is, we only like to breathe because we have knowledge of a worse experience. This is what makes life interesting. Everyone has had a unique experience, and it is what they have experienced that determines what makes them happy. With everyone trying to be happy at the same time, new experiences crop up, and 'happiness' changes in a beautiful mesh of time, space, stimuli, and consciousness. Life is a dynamic, fluid thing, and because of this all its answers are dynamic and fluid.
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    Jun 12 2011: I think happiness is simply the freedom to be oneself.
    • Jun 12 2011: Oh, I so agree with that:)
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    Jun 11 2011: Happiness is happiness. Simply "being" happy. Not "doing" happy :-)
    • Li hui

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      Jun 12 2011: sounds good!
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    Jun 11 2011: For me, currently, be with peace means i am easy to feel happy.
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    Jun 11 2011: I think happiness is a kind of feeling after you fulfil yourself, also it can be the smile that something amuse you.
  • Jun 11 2011: Lisa, as many would agree that there are two types of happiness. Inner and outer happiness. May I ask which happiness are you referring to, please. Thank you.
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    Jun 11 2011: Well happiness for me today is finding this site.... It has been something that i have been looking for all this time.

    Maybe that could be it. Happiness is something that you find after looking for for so long.

    They say the best things in life are worth waiting for.. really... i think the best things in life are worth looking for. Like the saying “I was waiting for success, but i decided to go on without it”

    I have just finished reading a book called “WHAT MAKES US TICK” and it is all about the 10 things that we need the most to be happy or to lead a happy life. It is interesting how it says that we cannot give up a certain need or desire for another, we need all ten of them.

    There is also a quote that says “happiness is all in our mind” and i feel this is true. There is nothing that anyone could give us or tell us that would make us happy unless we decided in our minds that this would make us happy. So to be happy is to content with what we have.

    Happiness is a choice and not a right....

    Just my thoughts
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    Jun 11 2011: The rebound question is..Is fulfillment the requirement for happiness? I would define happiness as a 'knowing'. Happiness considered as a realm of thought, a spirituality which cannot be quantified, nor bottled to be taken by another other individual in the same way. Is this why only the artist knows when the paintwork is complete? To be 'happy' as so many others have said... is to not over complicate it, a feeling of happiness. My happiness exists only when it is the rawest emotion at the top of the pile. It may come from a decision, a choice, a need, a want, a fulfillment. But to be happy, is to feel like there is not an issue with an outcome or present situation.
    • Jun 11 2011: I agree with you about 'knowing'. I like this quote by Marie Curie:-

      "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less"

      If there is a negative thought present, it is taking up 'space' that happiness could fill - to really be fulfilled, I guess one must remove all negative thoughts so they may be full of happiness. That would be the highest level of happiness or euphoria or enlightenment. This is what the Buddhist monks aim to achieve anyway. :)
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    Jun 9 2011: I think that for us all there is a spectrum of happiness, you know almost like a sliding scale .e.g. 10 which is right up there down to 1. I think what we need to do in our lives is not just focus on the top end of the spectrum - happiness at the lower end is often not quite valued as much as hitting an 8. We need to cherish the little bits too and actually if you make a point of thinking about happiness in this way you might just realise that happiness is more present in your life than you thought.
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    Jun 9 2011: Happiness is the feeling you get when you become aware of WHO YOU REALLY ARE in any one moment.
  • Jun 7 2011: The times when I feel truly happy are those moments when I feel fully alive.
  • Jun 7 2011: To be happy is to have all of your needs taken care of. (The needs I'm thinking of are the one's on Maslow's hierarchy of needs)
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    Jun 7 2011: For me, it means that in this moment joy wins.
  • Jun 7 2011: The ability to see the good in what seems bad.That insures that all that happens is good !!
  • Jun 7 2011: (My dog wrote this, and It would appear that I am in agreement; happiness is contentment for a moment or series of moments found squished between the places, people, things and beliefs where we expect to find it.)
    Later walking with Mom and Inigo I notice how summer is releasing the soggy remains of spring along the path to the beach giving rise to new flowers. The morning’s daylight reaches through the long shadow of the trees, enticing the buds to unburden their pedals, unfold into blossoms caressed by the summer’s warm rays.
    The beach is nice this morning. The sun is warm, the faint murmur of another family on the beach, birds in the water and insects buzzing the air seem to join in singing a quiet song of solitude. Even Inigo is quiet only his light footpads rustling the glassy pebbles beneath his feet adding melody to music that plays only for this beach.
    The soft edge of the sea rolls in harder for a moment in response to an unseen boat. The rails behind me rumble as a train filled with travelers passes overhead ...And then it is quiet again. The birds, the insects, the universe, adrift, tumbling, lost in the middle ground where the land, air, sea and me are of one and yet of none. It is a sort of predicament of the mind I extinguish when I squeeze my eyes to the warm sunshine and the salty stillness that cannot quite muster a breeze.
    It is as if the whole of the universe has conspired to create this moment just for me. Life is good. Life is bliss.
    • Jun 7 2011: that is lovely :D - but I must say it could be hell for an agoraphobic! ;)
      • Jun 11 2011: LOL I agree it would be the nightmares of agoraphobics, they would have to find their own present moment to experience their own bliss. I cannot imagine what it might be, think the mere word acrophobia speaks more to the experience of anxiety rather than happiness.
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      Jun 11 2011: haha ... I like it ... They say that one can only truly be happy if they can be happy with animals, alone and in a crowd. So it was interesting that your first message came from your dog :-) ..... now i miss my dog :-(

      So can a agoraphobic be truly happy or just content with what they have? ... in effect being happy?...
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    Jun 6 2011: For me happiness is waking up in the morning and being grateful for what I have in my life. Being happy is attracting this feeling in everything I do. For me, happiness is going to bed with the thought that the day was worthwhile. Happiness is sharing this feeling with others and trusting that I, too, am making others happy just as they make me happy.
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    Jun 6 2011: It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most."

    • Jun 6 2011: but don't we admire excellence to attain happiness?
  • Jun 6 2011: happy mean satisfy
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    Jun 6 2011: Start Loving Youself....Do what u have always wanted to do....Welcome thyself wherever you go....Try being the biggest possible reason behind the smiles of people around you...BEING HAPPY, IS NOTHING BUT, YOU GETTING SATISFIED TO THE HEIGHEST OF HIGHS...cheers..!!!!
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    Jun 6 2011: Not being unhappy..
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    Jun 6 2011: Happiness to me is when you get to meet new people and share my culture with them.If they understand it, I will be happier!
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    Jun 6 2011: Happiness is to joy as a lightning bug is to the Milky Way.
    Happiness is uncertain and often elusive because it is determined by one's attitude.
    Joy is the result of knowing the ultimate purpose of life.
    Happiness depends upon something which is changeable and unpredictable.
    Joy transcends circumstances, happiness does not.
    You can be robbed of happiness, but true joy endures despite circumstances.
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      Jun 6 2011: Edward, are speaking of joy in the biblical sense?
  • Jun 6 2011: I believe that happiness is a state of being.. You simply are "happy" or you are not! Nothing and no one can make you happy. Things or events or how people make you feel should not be mistaken as making you happy or not. Material things don't bring a state of being "happy".. Each day you have the option to wake up and just be.. happy... Living a happy life is not a fantasy. It's not to say that one won't have days that are sad, difficult, or challenging. However, a state of being happy is still your choice.
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    Jun 5 2011: Happiness comes in a lot of ways, mainly though, it comes from succeeding in life.


    Happiness in an intrapersonal phenomenon. It can be responsible for great decisions or the worst decisions.
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    Jun 4 2011: Some stellar responses to Lisa's inquiry here at Ted !
    To be young, with ample health and financial security- obtaining freedom from external demands is my most beloved concept. True happiness to me seems being able to sleep the day away, or depart on a moment's notice around the globe on a whim. I personally cannot imagine anything more valuable.
  • Jun 4 2011: Gratitude and Inner Simplicity. Deal with life daily as it is and not as our minds want it to be.When we finally grow up and are honest with ourselves and others---Smiles will follow
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    Jun 4 2011: Mine happens to be with plants and a loving girlfriend :) that honestly brings joy to my body, i can even discern where or which organ or gland i feel it in.
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    Jun 4 2011: A series of symbiotic productive positive relationships creating a loving self sustaining high vibratory rate, weather it be from person to person, or cell to cell within your own body! :D
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    Jun 3 2011: Everyone has their own, personal, magic formula for happiness. Mine is summarised in this TEDx talk. my passport to eudaimonia: http://bit.ly/iBaBCa. It’s also my call to Greeks around the world to enlist in the country’s resurrection. 
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    Jun 3 2011: I agree with most of our answers here. I believe that our heart is designed to love and our love is designed to make other hearts loved and happy. We do this in our relationships and whoever gives true love receives the same kind of love and happiness also.

    When our heart is used other than to love, we have problems. When our love is used other than to make other hearts happy, we have problems. When we stop loving altogether, we have big problems. When our heart and our love is misused, we are not happy and it weakens our powers to hope and trust, and it brings out our weaknesses.

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/3260/can_we_can_say_that_our_heart.html http://bit.ly/ThePowerToTransform
  • Jun 3 2011: Learning and then deciding to be content...or maybe it's the other way around. The ball's in our court!
  • Jun 2 2011: HAPPINESS arrives at you when you become entirely responsible for who you are. You are a driver, a cook, a lawyer, a policeman, a xyz in this big world, it doesn't matter. The thing which really matters is" Are you strong enough to answer the questions your heart throws upon you?" Some may not answer all the questions, but if you can really answer them then i bet you will be the happiest person in the whole world.