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Wellness

What Is Happiness And Why Does It Matter?

In this insightful discussion, the authors identify eight different kinds of happiness and how to get your bearings on them. Their conversation includes the importance of not only the happiness of the individual but also the happiness of the society.

We’re not yet ready to have a conversation about all the happiness we can find in relationships but I think it’s important for us to be aware of what happiness looks like for different people. The book is written that you don’t need to be in a relationship with someone to get your head around what might be possible through connection and connection alone. It’s a book about how to navigate relationships and life with integrity, compassion, and empathy and in light of what we know about relationships, we see these relationships as being one of two kinds: The One We Want To Be In Which I can do things in which I need to be in to be happy and the other kind is the one we have and which is a much more common and normal situation but also that we are afraid to let go of.

The first kind is the one we can be in, but it’s always hard to know what’s important and why and how to go about getting there. Then you have the other kind and it’s very, very common. How do you know it’s the other one? If you’re on the verge of doing that and I’m not sure if that’s going to be right or not, that’s when you know it’s the other one and you get into the process of trying to figure it out and I think that’s why the book takes such a clear and clear stance against the false hope that relationships are going to do everything and everybody can be happy and we’ll all be happy if we stay together.

How does it work with you and with your friends?

The thing that’s interesting is that this conversation with my friends is not a one-on-one conversation. We try and do that when we meet new people but there’s a little bit more of the conversation where people can relate to us and see how we’ve lived. They don’t have to be friends, but it helps if you know what you want more and why is that so important? Then you can ask them. And they’re usually open to some of it.

What are the questions in the book? The first question in the book is, When you look at happiness, what do you look at?

The book starts with the question, Who is happy or who is content? What’s the difference between those two places? How does happiness relate to that question? And it’s kind of a very simple question. What’s the difference between contentedness, which is a kind of happiness, and really happy? This is not a scientific question, this isn’t a question of economics or human psychology.

What is true happiness? What is true happiness?

Now it’s not a question of what we might call happiness versus contentment. There’s a difference between that distinction and the difference between contentment and happiness but what they have in common is that neither of those two, and as I’m going to elaborate, neither of them is an end in itself. We all have some kind or contentment, some kind of happiness, some of it’s temporary but there isn’t really a difference between a couple of months or two years or two decades of contentment versus happiness and there’s also a difference between contentment and happiness. It’s just not that way that people can just go with happiness.

So, what are the things that make us happy?

Contentment, the quality of contentment that comes with the idea that you know you’re happy and if something is going to harm you in this lifetime, it’s not going to hurt you more than it already does.

I think I have a long and storied relationship with that statement.

The book starts with the idea that happiness comes with being free to get what we want, what we deserve, what we deserve to be and what we deserve to see as beautiful, as great, as satisfying, as what’s best in the world.