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What is happiness and do we have a right to be happy?

(20 Posts)
baublesbanglesandb Sun 23-Sep-12 10:06:44

At a social gathering I was asked if I was 'happy'. I had to give it some thought. There are times when I experience a feeling of elation when listening to music or being out in the open and enjoying the wonders of our world. At other times I feel deeply content with life, is that happiness?

glassortwo Sun 23-Sep-12 10:27:48

I think to me if all of mine appear to be happy, healthy and going along nicely I am happy, I feel I have worked hard enough to feel a little contentment with my world. Yes at this moment I am happy. Oh dear I hope this isnt tempting fate!!!!! hmm

Ana Sun 23-Sep-12 10:37:52

I think a lot of people waste an awful lot of time and energy pursuing an elusive state of 'happiness', so much so that they are in a permanent state of discontent! I'd settle for contentment with occasional flashes of happiness - you appreciate the highs more if you're not looking for them!

whitewave Sun 23-Sep-12 10:42:05

Yes I think living in the moment helps a great deal - so no worrying about what may lie ahead and regreting what might have been.

janeainsworth Sun 23-Sep-12 10:57:12

Ana your comment about people fruitlessly searching for happiness and ending up discontented in the process, rings very true.
I have come to realise that you have to bear life's sadnesses and losses, but still retain the capacity to enjoy what you do still have.

anneandgraham Sun 23-Sep-12 11:07:48

they say life is what happens when you worrying about tomorrow or something like that??! do agree whitewave best try live inthe moment, is it called mindfulness?

We are desperately trying to leave the devastating hurt of our daughter behind and not let it ruin our future, is not easy but you have to try and accept what you cannot change. Focus on what you have and make best of it is the answer I believe.

Does anyone else feel it always seems like you were happier when you look back on things?? at the time it just seemed ok if that makes sense.

Greatnan Sun 23-Sep-12 11:28:19

anneand graham, like you I have a deep, underlying sadness on account of my daughter's mental illness and estrangement, and sometimes I feel guilty because I find myself enjoying my life so much. I am content with what I have, and my relationships with all the rest of my large family, and sometimes I also feel those moments of elation, perhaps when I am walking on the ski slopes and see valley after valley spread out in front of me, or when I am listening to some beautiful music.
I am not sure whether we have a right to be happy - to me, a right implies that somebody else has the duty to supply that right. I was born happy and have remained happy most of my life, in spite of having an unsatisfactory marriage. I am convinced that our capacity for joy is largely a matter of our brain chemistry. I know people who appear to have everything anybody could ever want and they are still miserable - it is just their personality.

Dresden Sun 23-Sep-12 11:34:04

After the death of DS1 a few years ago, followed by the the passing of two of our younger friends, we feel as though we have to make the most of life. Almost as if we owe it to them to be happy. We try to do lots of nice things, go for a walk by the sea on a sunny day, cook ourselves a special meal, buy a new plant for the garden, and most of all see as much of our family and friends as we can. We travel a lot to visit family and entertain a lot.

I suppose I am saying we make a big effort to do things that make us happy;and they do. Of course we still feel very sad sometimes, as you can never get over the death of one of your children, but life is for living and we try very hard to remember that.

nightowl Sun 23-Sep-12 11:48:15

Dresden and everyone who has lost a child, or grandchild, or is estranged from a loved one - I send my heartfelt sympathy. I am glad that you can still find joy in life and think you deserve to be happy. Life is indeed very precious and the human spirit very strong. All cliches I know, but no less true for all that flowers and sunshine

Dresden Sun 23-Sep-12 12:49:30

Thank you nightowl, I appreciate your kindness.

Greatnan Sun 23-Sep-12 13:28:34

Nightowl - you are very kind.

nightowl Sun 23-Sep-12 13:42:43

Not at all, you all remind me to be thankful for what I have and very aware that 'there but for the grace of God or fortune.....'

kittylester Sun 23-Sep-12 14:33:35

Who can say whether we have a right to be happy? But I do think that whether we are or not might be to do with our natural disposition.

I am definitely an optimistic type of person but I have never lost someone close to me in circumstances other than those who have had a good and long(ish) life. I struggled for a while when my son had his stroke but, thankfully, he survived. How I would have coped if the outcome had been different, I have no idea.

I have the utmost admiration for people who have survived enormous tragedy such as those we hear about on here and those who have long-term estrangement from those they love.

flowers to you all.

annodomini Sun 23-Sep-12 15:22:25

I don't think I can be happy unless the people I love are happy too. As we are social animals, I believe happiness is something to be shared. Can we be completely happy in isolation?

Butternut Sun 23-Sep-12 15:29:47

Such touching posts, and I'd like to offer sunshine to you all for your comments and support.
For myself, I do not feel there is a right or wrong way of being, nor a deserving of happiness. I'd tend to feel that today is a compilation of all of life's experiences, and endeavour to go with that. Finding a balance in acceptance can be fruitful, regardless of the specifics of what has gone before.
I try to embrace what is out there in the natural world, and seek solace in that, for therein lies lessons to be learnt which I value immensely. It is without censure.

Littlenellie Sun 23-Sep-12 15:54:13

Simplicity makes me happy,animals and nature,always having something to wish and hope for,having experienced intense unhappiness allows to me to experience happiness and be grateful for the things that I do have....is it my right to be happy,yes but not someone else's responsibility to make this happen,contentment with things you willingly do for others and an acceptance of yourself and others shortcomings brings it own peace sunshine

Butternut Sun 23-Sep-12 15:56:56

littlenell - smile x

Marelli Sun 23-Sep-12 16:16:57

As glass, remarked, it's almost tempting Fate to say 'Yes, I'm happy', but we can't go through our lives being worried about feeling happy in case something happens to take it away from us. Like others were saying, if my family are happy, then I am. I think I've got to the point where I do try to weigh up situations before diving in and trying to sort everyone's happiness for them.
If I feel low, I find that going for a long walk sorts me out somewhat, and the same can be said for music. I don't have earphones in when I'm out in the countryside, because I like to hear the sounds of Nature, but if I'm on a bus, I do wear them and listen to my favourite stuff.
If I get very sad about something, I try to count the blessings that I do have. And I do have so many. smile

Bags Sun 23-Sep-12 16:25:41

nellie, agreed. Contentment and acceptance. sunshine

anneandgraham Sun 23-Sep-12 17:16:34

Greatnan you are very wise, and yes I do think happiness is part of your personality I have friends with very little who are happy and content and others who are not!

good to surround yourself with positive people also who make you feel good we are lucky to have good friends who we have just booked hol with next year! they always make us feel happy and good about ourselves andwe have such fun.

Nothing will stop the pain of missing my only daughter it is tooo huge a thing and I sometimes wake at night and have panic feelings that I just cannot cope with it, but I do!! having good husband helps and lovely son too.

Dresden how brave of you to try and carry on after losing a child in a totally different way but of course it is the only way my sympathies.

Thank you from me too nightowl that is lovely comment.