What Does Being Happy Mean?

happy plastic dollSo, what does being happy mean? How would you define it?

I thought about this over the weekend and realized that there’s a difference between “being HAPPY,” emphasis on happy and “BEING happy,” emphasis on being.

And just what is that difference? I’m so glad that you asked!

Being HAPPY (emphasis on HAPPY)

When I think about being HAPPY I think about putting on a happy face no matter what you’re actually feeling. There are some benefits to this, by smiling you actually can start to feel better and happier. What I really mean by “putting on a happy face” is when you’re using a happy mask to hide whatever it is you’re really feeling – and you’re not just masking it for others, you’re masking it for yourself too – you’re not allowing yourself to feel the emotions – any emotions.

Another indicator of focusing on being HAPPY is mostly doing things that have the immediate result of happiness, otherwise known as instant gratification. Instant gratification isn’t always bad, but if you’re doing it at the expense of your long term happiness you’re probably more focused on being HAPPY.

So, if the above are what being HAPPY is, what is BEING happy?

BEING happy (emphasis on BEING)

When you’re BEING happy you realize that you won’t be HAPPY all the time. You’re human, you have emotions and it’s normal to be upset, angry, or frustrated sometimes. When you’re BEING happy you allow yourself to feel those emotions. It doesn’t mean that you sit and wallow in them, but you remember that they’re normal and you don’t beat yourself up for having those emotions. One other thing to remember, it’s difficult to fully appreciate happiness if you’re not allowing yourself to feel other emotions too.

BEING happy means that you’re not focused on instant gratification. You recognize that for some things there’s more happiness in waiting then in enjoying it right now. You know what instant gratification is. It’s when you buy that item you want even though you don’t quite have the money for it (but you get paid at the end of the week!) or you have a problem and you spend the time looking for a magic pill, but not the time to slowly tackle it bit by bit (think get rich schemes or quickly lose 10 pounds in a week promises).

BEING happy is about recognizing what you’re feeling and deciding how you’ll respond, instead of reacting. This brings me back to my definition of happiness:

Happiness is a state of mind that you choose to be in regardless of your circumstances or situation.

Happiness is a choice. You choose your own definitions and rules for your life – so which ones do you choose?

What does being happy mean to you? How would you define it?

Photo credit: Happy Man by Neal. via Flickr
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