Tina Moore

Creator / Founder / Author, the40by40

This conversation is closed.

How do you A) Define HAPPINESS and B) Sustain it?

I am interested in what people believe 'makes' them happy. How do you know when you are happy and how do you sustain this feeling of wellness? Your answers, opinions and insight are greatly appreciated and respected. Thank you!

  • thumb
    Nov 14 2011: A) Happiness is how we feel when our eyes are smiling.
    B) We sustain happiness by developing an awareness and appreciation of the beauty in our lives.

    As regards what I believe makes me happy. It is best expressed by William Blake's poem describing the Joy of Unconditional Love and the Suffering of a Selfish or Jealous Love.

    The Clod and the Pebble

    'Love seeketh not Itself to please,
    Nor for itself hath any care,
    But for another gives its ease,
    And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.'

    So sang a little Clod of Clay
    Trodden with the cattle's feet;
    But a Pebble of the brook
    Warbled out these metres meet:

    'Love seeketh only Self to please,
    To bind another to Its delight;
    Joys in another's loss of ease,
    And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite.'

    Its rather an obtuse answer to he question of what makes me happy. But let me put it another way, we cannot find happiness while we are fettered by a selfish love. True happiness comes in the sunrise of unconditional Love.
    • thumb
      Nov 14 2011: Hi Jerry. Thank you for your response! I am curious, where does unconditional love start from....giving it to yourself or to others? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? :)
      • thumb
        Nov 15 2011: Hi Tina,

        We must first embrace and immerse ourselves with compassion for our own faults, suffering and failings. How can we hope to forgive others if we are unable to forgive ourselves first. To have the capacity to give unconditional love to ourselves and to others is an Ideal. However, to move towards that Ideal must be one of the worthiest and most rewarding goals of life.

        "I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate himself by conscious endeavor." Henry David Thoreau
        • thumb
          Nov 19 2011: I agree, however, I've been told that is selfish...

          I don't think it's selfish...I think self care/understanding is essential...it allows you to be more giving, more loving, compassionate, empathetic, patient etc. with others...

          This is based on my own experience...I have much much MUCH MORE to give now than before....and as a result, life is richer, fuller, deeper and with far more color...
      • thumb
        Nov 22 2011: Hi Tina,

        I know you are an evangelist for jogging, and I commend you for it. And I understand that for you jogging has been your route to a happier and healthier life. Indeed, a life full of meaning.

        This is a hypothetical question, but if exercise had not been an option for you, do you think you would have found another route to happiness and a fulfilled life.Please excuse the far fetched scenario, but I'm interested to know if you think you could get to where you are now by a different route.

        • thumb
          Nov 22 2011: Jerry, this is an EXCELLENT question...one I've asked myself before and I don't really know if I have a concrete answer for you, but I will do my best.

          I believe that happiness lives inside of us. We are born loving, happy and at peace...it is our natural state. That is my belief based on my experience. Life starts to add layers, perspectives, opinions, judgements and other negative stuff on top of that core energy we are born with. For so many years I could see that inner core who was at peace, loving, and happy, I knew it was there and yet I just couldn't reach it. It was extremely frustrating to me.

          You are right, jogging was the way for me to access it...it won't be the way for others...I think we have to find our own way to reach that core. If I can't jog, will I lose my happiness? It's a fair question. For myself, at this point in my life, I need physical activity to clear the negative clutter in my mind and allow access to the peace, love and joy in my heart. It works for me...but now that I've experienced that peace, I am finding other ways to access it. Meditation for example. Writing. And I've always felt great joy in helping others.

          I think because I had so much pain and dysfunction to wade through, I needed the physical exertion to release it...at that time in my life talking, affirmations, meditation, praying, soul searching, and crying was getting me no where...it was only when I added jogging to that list that I could dig deep and pull out the garbage. Empty the negativity and begin replacing old habits with new, healthy habits. Old thought patterns for new positive thought patterns. Old self hatred, unworthiness and loathing.for authentic love of self...

          "If exercise had not been an option for you, do you think you would have found another route to happiness and a fulfilled life?"

          Yes. I made a DECISION to CHANGE...and that's the energy I needed to begin my new life.

          Thank you so much for this conversation!
          With a smile,
      • thumb
        Nov 23 2011: Tina,

        Thank you so much for such a thoughtful reply.

        I agree that an inner calm comes from reuniting ourself with our natural state.

        Meditation comes in many forms and interpretations, and means different things to different people. For me meditation in its most fundamental form is stilling the mind, by focusing our attention on the breath, we begin the process of slowing down the thinking. We become conscious of our thoughts and allow them to drift past. Finally, gaps open up between our thoughts and within these gaps we can access our natural state. (Please excuse me teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here, but I'm going somewhere with this.)

        What is interesting is that we return to the body to still our mind and to access our natural state. My interpretation is an obvious one, and that is your use of jogging returns your attention to the body allowing you to access your natural state.

        It also seems that you achieve two benefits for the price of one. In that not only does your jogging bring you back to your natural state, but you also benefit from the invigoration of exercise and the release of endorphins, the 'jogger's high.'

        It is extremely encouraging that this 'habit' has allowed you to recreate your life, in such a positive and authentic manner. That it has created a higher purpose which has provided you with the motivation to change as a person.

        My route has taken a different path, I started with meditation and listening to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn. However, I am beginning to see that mind and body are one, and that we can enrich our experience of life to a higher level by developing, training, both our mind and our body.

        Thank you for your insight on jogging and exercise, I am very grateful. I commend to you the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn. Once we have rediscovered our natural state there are many treasures to be savoured which have been discovered and recorded by noble minds over the millenia.

        In peace.
  • thumb
    Nov 7 2011: Like solar flares, happiness erupts from contentment. Contentment, like the sun, is sustainable. Happiness is not.

    For me, defining contentment is the more difficult task. I would begin by suggesting one must embody a humble confidence and a genuine curiosity. I have no end.
    • thumb
      Nov 7 2011: Thank you for your answer Lynn! Contentment...I like that...but if you are content, will you strive for more in your life? I don't necessarily mean more 'things' but rather, more experiences, diving further into yourSELF through relationships with others? Challenging yourself by facing fears, going out of your comfort zone? How do you expand if you are currently content? WILL you expand if you are currently content...and if you would, why? Wouldn't contentment be where you want to stay? Expanding could mean change, change is unknown and therefore can create unease...

      When I say 'you' I mean, me, you, us...all of us...in our own way, journey, and growth as humans...

      I love the humble confidence and genuine curiosity...I suppose if you are curious you will continue to grow...but if you want to grow, are you content in the present? Hmm, I think I need another cup of chai to contemplate this...thank you for the food for thought!

      With a smile,
  • thumb
    Nov 8 2011: It can only be sustained when it's not defined.

    The moment you apprehend certain ideas or concepts is the moment they fail.
    • thumb
      Nov 8 2011: Thank you Scott for your comments...I'd love to know why you feel this way...
      • thumb
        Nov 9 2011: I think it's a bit of human nature. The grass is always greener. The search for new experience.

        Happiness seems to be often pinned to concrete things - material wealth (whether that is in dollars or a particular personal value) or goals to tick off.

        I think it's the getting there, rather than the achievement, where happiness is to be found. In distraction.

        Attain goal and then it's "what's next?".
        • thumb
          Nov 9 2011: Thanks Scott...I read a quote somewhere which I will paraphrase as I don't remember it exactly:
          "You better enjoy the journey to the goal because you spend far more time doing that than experiencing the goal itself"...something along those lines.

          That helped me enormously when I decided to train for a 40K run on my 40th birthday...up to that point I was moaning and complaining...still doing the training (I had never exercised in my life prior to that goal) but my poor attitude made every run longer, harder and more difficult. As soon as my attitude shifted the runs actually became fun...

          I have never found lasting happiness in things...some of the saddest moments of my life I was in a very lovely house, with a seemingly picture perfect life...it was horrible...now I feel happiness from within...despite the challenges I may still face today, I continuely wake up feeling happy, grateful, excited and loving...sounds corny perhaps but it is those things that enRICH my life...all other experiences, things are painted by the brush of those emotions...

          how did I get here? Lots of hard work and a fierce determination to change my life...

          Thank you for expanding on your initial comment...I really appreciate it!
          With a smile,
    • thumb
      Nov 26 2011: WOW!!!! that is really awesome. i totally agree.
      Because if you are judging your self whether you are happy or not then you will get the big NO...
      So its better to just enjoy the moments....
  • thumb
    Nov 22 2011: Happiness is seeing the glass as half full and staying away from those who sees the cup's emptiness.
    • thumb
      Nov 29 2011: Craig...thank you...I agree as I've been around negativity and it just weighs you down. You are a product of your environment sometimes and so if you can surround yourself with positive energy, loving energy then you will feel lifted...that has been my experience.

      With a smile,
      • thumb
        Nov 29 2011: Morning Tina,
        Yes it's true. However even seeing how negative energy or perceptions often manifest out of seeing the cup as half empty is key. Gratitude, reverence and non comparative judgment is often the foundation of seeing the cup half full. So I believe.
  • thumb
    Nov 19 2011: Define happiness: A feeling.

    How to sustain it: Choose to feel it.

    Happiness is not a consequence. Pleasure, enjoyment, and other positive feelings might be; happiness is not.

    So within reason being happy is a choice.

    I have personally felt grief and happiness simultaneously. There are many stories of people in horrendous circumstance experiencing happiness.

    [Perhaps the only time we cannot choose to be happy is if we suffer from severe mental illness - and even then, many of us can still choose happiness.]
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: Hello Thomas, thank you for your response. I agree with you that in a sense happiness is a choice however I think that needs to be expanded upon as it could be viewed as denial...let me explain: "I will choose to be happy and not deal with my current situation or past demons etc"...it's like a positive affirmation without any action...I believe you need both...

      I also agree with you that if you suffer from depression, anxiety or another mental illness that happiness is perhaps a total mystery to you...that was my experience...I'd laugh with people, I'd chuckle at a program I was watching or smile when I saw someone I loved however that inner happiness which I feel now was not present...and I wouldn't have been able to explain it to the depressed Tina...she wouldn't have been able to understand the difference...

      In my case, I chose change...with that change came happiness...but I had to heal parts of myself first, change patterns and behavior and get rid of toxic relationships first before I felt the true happiness and joy I feel now...like you, I have felt grief and happiness, stress and happiness at the same time...it's a totally different feeling from what I felt before...

      It's an overall well-being...perhaps that's it...

      Thank you for the conversation...I greatly appreciate it.

      I hope you have a JOYful Monday,
      With a smile,
  • thumb
    Nov 19 2011: Happiness is nothing...
    its just a word and it comes only for little time....
    and when you feel good and you don't have any trouble then you call it as happiness.... but i think to be happy always is the most difficult task...
    If you really want to be happy then just start imagine that you are happy because our mind always support our decision and whatever we feel our mind always try to make it.
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: Oh Sam, your first statement, "Happiness is nothing...it's just a word and it comes only for little time" makes me so sad! I'm pretty sure I used to feel that way too....

      I can honestly tell you that happiness is a feeling of well-being....it's a state of waking up and feeling grateful for all you have, even in the wake of money or work related stress. It is feeling love, joy, kindness and appreciation for yourSELF and others around you.

      If I would have said that to myself before I'd started my life-change, I would have thought I was crazy...a little woo-woo koo-koo to me...but now that I've experienced it, I know it exists. How did I find it? I found it through jogging. I know, it's probably the last thing most people want to hear...but that is how I found my true, authentic self....and by finding that person inside of me, I found my joy. I tried to just 'think' myself happy for years and it didn't work because I had past pain and current toxic relationships and dysfunctional patterns to deal with...once I dealt with that, the joy was uncovered.

      I believe it can be sustained...it doesn't mean you don't have bad days, of course you do, but the feeling of wellness, a connection to self is maintained and I believe that's where your happiness lies...

      I hope that's helpful to you Sam...not that you were looking for advice or my input...I just wanted to comment as your comment affected me...

      With a smile,
      • thumb
        Nov 26 2011: Thanks a lot to you.
        I really liked that you shared one part of your life with me and I appreciate your thinking.
        but i feel that a human cannot feel happiness, there is always a hope of getting more and more. no one wants to enjoy happiness.
        But seriously i also feel that Happiness is everything. When you are happy you can enjoy the sun rays in the 12 noon also but without happiness you can't even enjoy the full moon night.
        Actually my Xams are going on and that i my exam was not good so i just see and wrote..." Happiness is nothing""" So a big thanks to you to bring my mind on track...
        • thumb
          Nov 29 2011: Thanks for responding Sam...in response to your comment "No one wants to enjoy happiness"...I have to respectfully disagree.

          I WANT TO AND DO ENJOY HAPPINESS! I didn't know what it was before, but now that I've experienced it, I get it...and I plan on experiencing more of it.

          Try expressing gratitude for those things...they go hand in hand...you have amazing sun rays at noon and a beautiful full moon at night...some people don't get to experience that...take a minute and say thanks...it certainly shifts my negative thoughts when they are lurking...

          Good luck on your exams...wishing you much success in your life!
          With a smile,
      • thumb
        Nov 29 2011: thanks a lot......
        always keep smiling..........
  • Nov 7 2011: I agree with the previous comment. In modern western society we are bombarded with the illusion that everyone else is happier than we are because they have a nicer car, better clothes, or a bigger television. Or perhaps it is the romance novels, and happy ever after stories that we are taught that make us believe love is out there and it will just fall into your lap and you will never hurt once you find your soulmate. All of this has caused people to constantly desire more, when in reality you will never feel fulfilled and happy if you are always trying to have the best. Happiness isn't about finding the best things, its about finding the best IN things. Only when you begin looking for the happiness in your life that you already have will you truly feel happy.
    • thumb
      Nov 7 2011: Thank you Joshua, interesting points.

      For years I was so profoundly UNHAPPY that I can absolutely agree with you that no house, car, relationship, job, or lovely holiday can fill you with joy that has any lasting effect. Only when I truly made a decision to examine, understand, process and finally heal past pain, current patterns and toxic relationships could I sustain an authentic life.

      I believe living authentically - being true to yourSELF, your values, morals, instinct and word leads to a life full of joy, laughter, love, contentment as Lynn pointed out, and 'real' relationships. It allows you to be more open with others because you are solid within yourself. It is not without struggles or hardships but it is with honesty...and that creates a lighter energy...

      Now I wake up with gratitude...and a quiet, peaceful heart knowing I am being who I am...it took hard work, but it was absolutely worth it!

      Thanks for adding to this conversation!
      With a smile,