Hey there– nice to see you again. Thanks for stopping by.
For today’s topic, we’ll be discussing the concept of happiness, or at least explore my own thoughts related to happiness. First, as with all of my works and future works, I’d like to operationalize the topic, and in this case, happiness, within a relatable context. If you were to picture the idea of being happy, you might refer to a joyous memory, a moment in time where you didn’t worry; you might picture what you’d like happiness to look like if you feel like you haven’t achieved it previously; you might try to tease or distinguish the difference between happiness, contentedness, and joy; etc. To my understanding (and this is subject to change), happiness is a relative, subjective state of being that entails positive emotions associated with your present consciousness. In addition, I don’t believe that an individual can be happy eternally. Let me expand:
I want you to imagine a graph where the Y-axis consists of relative states of being, where the X-axis consists of time, and a line that goes across the graph that represents your baseline. Over time, your state of being, assuming there are no changes in environment and no actions have been taken, will stay relatively the same/stagnant and it will be a straight line that does not change. However, if we take into account external forces and external pressures, coupled with your own decisions that you make daily, you will notice that on top of the straight line there are oscillations. There will be fluctuations daily that will inform your well-being or state of being for that day due to the decisions that you create and the external forces that might affect your decisions. By fluctuations/oscillations, I am referring to a consistency that will appear over time that may change in peaks, but overall, will revolve around the average baseline that was mentioned before.
Now, the idea that you will stay stagnant can create some dissonance or uncomfortable feelings for you. You may wonder if humans are destined to stay relatively the same, and as a result, will not see improvements in overall baseline. So, the question now is:
“How do I improve my baseline and achieve happiness?”
I believe there are multiple ways to achieve a higher baseline. One of these examples can consist of reframing your approach towards the way you live your life. If you are able to consciously make an effort towards seeing positivity, you may be able to feel more connected to the higher state of being that you may want to achieve, and as a result, you will notice subtle changes and improvements over time. Another example at which you can improve your baseline can be taking risks. I’m not talking about super impulsive, out-of-character risks. I’m talking about the risks that you’ve entertained in your head but decided to not explore it. By taking risks, there is the possibility that your baseline will increase or decrease, but you will be presented with several opportunities to improve your baseline. As a result, why not take risks?
To my understanding, individuals will continue to stay stagnant within baseline because they don’t take risks. They are comfortable. We like how things are going and we rationalize that because things are going well, we have put in the effort to be where we are, and as a result, will not take initiative towards improving our lives. We become content. And don’t get me wrong– I don’t think that being content is bad. We become absorbed in our daily lives and become comfortable with our routines and our continual re-exposure to our daily activities that encourage us and energize us. However, if we want to achieve happiness, can we achieve happiness by being comfortable?
My thoughts revolve around the concept of greener pastures. Humans are continually adapting and we strive for equilibrium. If we continue to strive for happiness and increase our baselines, will we not become content again, just at a higher baseline? Will we not normalize our new state of being at some point? If we continue to take risks, and if the risks yield results that we look for, will we still just be content at the end of the day? How do we achieve happiness? Is it similar to self-actualization? It’s frustrating to think that someone operationalized happiness and constructed an ideal that may be unachievable.