Monday Musings, 22: "That Weird Thing Called Happiness"

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

According to Jefferson, we have a right to pursue happiness. But what is happiness? How can we tell when we've reached the ultimate state of happiness? How about pursuing happiness, does the pursuit end at some point? Does it happen in a journey or an in instance?

Happiness is a very obscure term. By definition, it's the state of being happy. We all want to be happy, but yet, we don't really know what ultimate happiness feels like. We've been trained to think that happiness is an end goal that we have to constantly strive for, that gaining happiness is a process or a journey. Here's the important question to ask: does happiness come after a journey or does it happen in an instance? Do we, indeed, have to strive for happiness or does it just happen to us without warning?

We strive for many things, but in my opinion, happiness is not one of them. We don't have to chase happiness. Happiness comes to us when we're able to live without incident in a way that pleases us. The feeling of happiness hits you when you feel like you've taken control over everything in your life or even when you just experience something that's pleasurable. Instead of it being that shiny trophy on the mountain top, happiness is the glow you see in yourself after a fresh hair cut or a great night out with your spouse. Happiness will hit you continuously throughout your life. You don't have to pursue it; it's already there.