Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Happiness Is

"Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product."

These are the words of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Mostly, I think she had things figured out. She made a lot of sense out of life. But I'm not sure how I feel about this particular belief of hers.

Part of me agrees. This part reasons that I'm happy because I'm pursuing my goals and choosing to feel loved every day.

The other part argues that one chooses to be happy. There's a lot of stuff in this world that could bring you down -- naysayers who try to make you hate yourself, obstacles that seem insurmountable, the nightly news with its tales of horrific crime -- and you have to make the conscious decision not to let those things get to you.

I think happiness is both the goal and the by-product. I think happiness is the best defense against the small things in life. I think happiness is the best decision I've ever made.

What does happiness mean to you?


  1. I would tend to agree with Roosevelt here. Too many times, we seem to focus on happiness as the end goal. I'm not sure if that's really the goal of life. If we happen to find happiness of pursuing what is one's life purpose, that's fine. But to try to make happiness into life's purpose seems fleeting to me. (Probably why I disagree that the American dream should be the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alvin.

      I pursue what I consider my life's purpose and, while taking this road, I am been the happiest I've ever been in life.

      For me, it's like that scene in Sex and the City where one of the girls asks Charlotte if she's happy in her relationship. "Every day," she replies. They give her a look of utter disbelief and she adds, "Not all, day everyday, but every day."

      Like I wrote in the essay for The Philly Post, I've made the choice to be happy. I used to be a miserable, "emo" teenager who frowned all day long. Who wants that? Since I made the decision to be happy, I've felt happy every single day. Even if it's just a single fleeting moment of joy that I feel tomorrow, I'll feel like I'm living life the right way.

      What is your dream, your purpose?