The Happiness Connection

We’ve all heard the phrase “be happy”.  I used to wish for that as I blew out candles on my birthday cake or tossed a coin into a fountain.  I figured if I wished for happiness, it would be the umbrella covering everything; those I care about would be healthy and safe, financial stress would be minimal, I would enjoy each day… Then I read the book The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.  I found myself thinking more specifically about what makes each of us happy.

Weiner searches for the happiest places in the world and explores what happiness means to different people in different countries.  He offers some fun insights and thoughtful ideas.  He wondered if where you are defines how you are.  The book also had me thinking “is simply not being unhappy enough?”  To many people, that answer is most likely yes.  Or what if expectations were lowered?  If the bar for unhappiness meant “just OK”, is that enough?

I found the lack of jealousy in one country intriguing.  How can you feel like a have-not in a world of haves if that emotion just isn’t there?  To never compare ourselves, would insecurities fall by the wayside?  Weiner also addressed the issue of happiness being a choice.  Those that are truly depressed may scoff at this idea but perhaps there is truth to mind over matter.  One of the chapters is called Happiness is Not Thinking.  There are many people I’ve worked with and know that would really relate to this one on a variety of levels; being hard on yourself, focusing on past mistakes, negative self-talk…

So many ideas Weiner presented, and so many definitions.  The author concludes, after traveling the world searching for the happiest of places, the true definition is what I’ve believed all along.  “Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people (relationships)… it’s connective tissue”

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