The nature of happiness

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The term ‘Happiness’ is a summation of all the positive emotions that a person can experience simultaneously. In other words, it is the summation of peace of mind, confidence, liberty, curiosity, passion, hope, good health, self-esteem, love, security, and limitless positive expectations. And due to the fact that all positive emotions cannot occur simultaneously at their peak, the concept of happiness, which is ‘absolute happiness’, is flawed. Absolute happiness does not exist and cannot exist, simply because we cannot experience all positive emotions at their peak and at the same time. For example, you may be financially successful, yet not have a good wife, good health, or enjoyable job. You may get good grades at school, yet still suffer from low self-esteem because you are a perfectionist. Rather than absolute happiness, what can simply be experienced are various levels of happiness. 

For absolute happiness to be attained or experienced, a man/woman must have experienced each of the constituents of happiness at their peak, and essentially simultaneously. And since we live in the real world, where there are hostility, competition, and scarcity of resources, our sense of safety and security are bound to be questioned. There is no 100% emotionally secure in this world; everyone has fears and anxiety, even below the conscious level. Some euphoric experiences (unhealthy addictions) may be psychologically pleasant, yet potentially dangerous, therefore placing us in a Catch-22, further showing that absolute happiness cannot be attained. While it is impossible to experience absolute happiness in the world, we can strive to experience a high level of happiness regardless. 

Happiness exists in various levels and forms; that is, you can be very happy, but not absolutely happy. In the same vein, you can be very sad, yet not absolutely sad. For every happy person, there is a happier person, and for every sad person, there is a sadder person. A decrease in any one of the components of happiness can depress your mood, and any increase in any of the components can elevate your mood. More so, your level of happiness can exist in different forms based on the particular emotion affected at the time. For example, fear is a different emotion from regret, guilt, disappointment, bitterness, and frustration. All these different emotions give a different feel to your heart and mind. Therefore, happiness can vary in level and form.   

If you were unhappy because you were very sick, your unhappiness would be different from the dejection you get from failing a very important examination. More so, if you were unhappy because you lost a loved one, such unhappiness is that of sorrow (or grief) rather than regret, guilt, or fear. In addition, you can be excited about passing an examination, yet experience sorrow over the death of a loved one, or experience business success and suffer domestic violence. All of the components of happiness are never at their peak at the same time, especially since we have some degree of uncertainty about the future. 

Every single human being in the entire universe is not absolutely happy, and cannot be. In spite of our great success, fame, wealth, and accomplishments, there are other worries, anxieties, and insecurities which we are or are not probably conscious of at the time. These worries may beset us at the subconscious level. In our glorious moments, we are never absolutely happy.