Happiness is defined as a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions. So, how does one find that elusive thing called happiness? Can anyone tell me or you what true happiness is for each and every one of us? The answer is simply, no, because by definition it cannot be the same for everyone. What is pleasant to one person might not be so for another. But, the caveat is, regardless of that variation, the pursuit of our own personal happiness often becomes our life goal.
And, as with all things, living in an utter state of continuous happiness is not reasonable and lays open ground for a host of other emotions. The challenge with some folks, I believe, is that they are so intent on finding this grand "idea" of what happiness should be and look like, that they fail to recognize the various degrees of happiness when they experience it.
For the most part, we are all trying to achieve meaning and a sense of satisfaction from our daily lives. But even "meaning" and "a sense of satisfaction" include a host of other emotions. As does unhappiness, for if we were not unhappy or dissatisfied sometimes, we would not have an accurate gauge of what happiness and satisfaction feels like.
Perhaps it is not so much that we suffer from not achieving happiness but the inability to acknowledge it when happiness does occur. The trick is developing the mental acuity necessary to see it.
Unique not only to the American culture, but certainly alive and well here, we suffer from a lot of free time. I mean really free time. Free time with nothing to do, allows us to be too much in our own heads where we provide ourselves the opportunity and discussion with ourselves about the "lack" we are feeling. The problem is, we don't always place the causes in correct perspective because we are only having one-sided conversations. We need to get out of our own heads.
Maybe we need to look at the larger picture; the world at large. Are we confusing our "lack and unfulfilled feelings" because we really are just existing? Ask yourself, "what am I doing in my own life that I should feel really happy about?" Change your perspective. Imagine yourself in a third-world country, not the wonderful USA. If your day-to-day experience was just surviving, would your current feelings be different? Is what you are feeling a first-world or a third-world feeling?
If other areas of your life seem to be in balance but you have an overwhelming sense of unhappiness and doom, perhaps you need to seek the help of a mental health professional.
But, let's get real and ask the hard questions. Are you making excuses for yourself? Are you secretly wanting others to commiserate with you and tell you what you are feeling is okay? Do you really want to be engaged and happy in life? Could you and are you willing to identify and acknowledge what your sense of happiness looks like? Once answered, start systematically making changes in your life. Happiness is within reach. You just have to reach up and grab it.