What is happiness? Can a term of seeming simplicity truly define a complex and often unclear feeling? Does happiness come from within, or is it something external that causes a person to be truly happy?

These are the questions that I am seeking answers to, not for me, but for someone very dear to me.

According to what I have read, there are two theories that dominate the questions that surround happiness and its meaning. I bet, those of you who know me well, will be able to easily see which thought I align myself with.

The first is known as the Hedonic Theory.

“This suggests that happiness – or well-being – is entirely about the attainment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The more pleasure you have and the less pain you experience, the happier you are and the greater your well being.”

The second theory is called Eudaimonic Theory.

“This focuses on meaning, and defines well-being in terms of self realization, i.e. the extent to which we are fulfilling our potential in life.”

So, did you guess correctly? I 100% align myself with the Eudaimonic Theory. Happiness isn’t always about pleasure, if it was, I think it would be a lot easier to stay happy. Happiness is in the pursuit of worthy aims. Philosophers, psychologists, and religious visionaries from many backgrounds all agree that happiness, true happiness, is not about the shallow. Even the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that happiness is found in the “expression of virtue.” More recently, Fromm concludes that true happiness comes not from momentary pleasure but from human growth, and that those things that make us the most happy are the things that help humankind as a whole.

“This is a more holistic view, seeing the individual as part of a wider organism and defining happiness as that point at which your own fulfilment coincides with that of wider society. This is when you live in accordance with your ‘daimon’ i.e. ‘true self.'”

So friends, remember, human emotion sets apart the human race, so embrace your emotions. Feel deeply, it’s okay. It makes you who you are.


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