Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Someone once told me, when I was talking about making decisions for my children based on their potential happiness, that being happy is not the most important goal in life.

This conversation took place 7 years ago, and I still think about it from time to time, because it made me wonder whether my value system is set up in the best way it could be.

Happiness is a supremely important goal, in my opinion, because from that state everything else flows easily. I don't mean the kind of giddy, effusive happiness that people might feel on winning the lottery or finding a long-lost friend or relative - just the underlying, day-to-day sort that comes from contentment.

Happy people tend to be relaxed and more focused on doing what they want to do and doing it well, which usually has good results for them and for anyone else involved. Happy people are more interested in the world around them and therefore in learning. Thinking and learning are very important goals because they enable us to make good decisions and to progress, but an underlying state of happiness is necessary to enable all of that to take place.

Isn't it?

Sometimes I'm so sure about these things, then other times I wonder if I'm wrong.


Blogger Tim said...

I agree.

True happiness is not some sort of vacant bliss. I think it requires... enlightenment, fulfilment and self-realization. (I test out as Buddhist on the silly web religion tests though).

7:42 am, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Tibetan Star said...

Thumbs up for happiness!
"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence."

12:49 pm, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And then we have happiness as the new economics and the notion of Gross National Happiness as an alternative for the Gross National Product...

“Gross International Happiness could be the next level of evolution in our economic thinking” Dutch economist, Sander Tideman

“As a Buddhist, I believe the purpose of our lives is to overcome suffering and cultivate happiness. At the same time, on national and global levels we need an economic system that enables such a pursuit of true happiness. The purpose of economic development should be to contribute to rather than obstruct this goal.” Dalai Lama

1:03 pm, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Tech said...

Over all I agree, although I believe you can't have happiness without knowing sadness also.

1:06 pm, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

I agree. I wrote a blog post once about how HE is giving us the opportunity to live a happy life today, rather than teaching our kids that happiness is always what you'll get tomorrow if you 'work hard' today. I think that in our society we fear that happiness equals laziness and self-indulgence. I think that those things tend to occur more when people are sad.

2:39 pm, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Nic said...

I agree too - although I'm still searching for the right word. I once did one of those 'describe yourself in 3 words' things and happy/content was one of mine. I don't mean content as in don't have hopes, dreams and ambitions anymore or happy as in euphoric at all times, just that overall I am, well, happy / content. Frankly I can't think of a better goal - but as Allie rightly says it should be more about what we are, simply right now, rather than what we are striving to be somehow.
If we attach too many conditions to it then it fails to become satisfying somehow. I'd be happy if I won the lottery / lost three dress sizes / had a partner / didn't have a partner is the sort of wish that'll never come true. I think teaching / helping our children to work out what makes them happy above all else and then supporting them in finding the way to make that the basis of whatever else they do in life is quite simply the best we can offer them.

4:38 pm, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is happiness, is it when everyone around you is doing what you want and agreeing with you? Is happiness always haveing to have your dream job, partner, home?

What happens when our relationships or our marraige turns from happiness into un-happyness, is that our cue to pack up our old kit bag and search in pastures new? Many familes included mine have been devestated by someone "not being happy with the person they chose".

I suppose my point is this, life should be more about duty, commitment and going the distance, loving and forgiving regardless of how happy we are.

To persue a permanant state of happiness is like a golden dream just out of reach.

Happiness at its best is when it bursts upon us in the darkest situations, like when you have just been told your child has been found or is going to get well, or you realise you have taken things a little to deeply. Happiness is best dished out in small frequent helping surounded by faithfulnes and longsuffering, love and accpetance.

8:33 pm, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Rosie said...

I think you're right Gill. I've been thinking about this recently. Especially when people ask (or that voice in my head asks), eg: "what will they do about exams?" I started to think, well, they could do exams, obviously, but that isn't necessarily the main aim or route to future happiness. If what I want for them is to be happy, which I think most parents ultimately want, then it doesn't have to be defined in terms of qualifications=money=happiness, especially when this does not even follow, usually. No, happiness for happiness sake is more important.
As for it being the most important goal in life, well, only they can decide that,in their own time, but as a parent, happiness must come first, as all else follows.

12:38 am, February 15, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

It's an interesting question isn't it? And I guess the answer has a lot to do with how you define happiness and how you go about achieving it.

10:32 am, February 15, 2007  
Blogger Schuyler said...

Sometimes I find myself thinking about Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs. If you think of happiness as the apex of that pyramid, self-actualization is far off from happiness, really, than surely it is the most significant thing.

I'm enjoying your blog.

7:17 pm, February 23, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Ohh I haven't come across that pyramid before. That's got me thinking.

10:41 am, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Schuyler said...

I meant isn't self actualization isn't far off from happiness, not is far off from happiness, doh!

4:00 pm, February 24, 2007  

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