An introduction to happiness

What is happiness and where can we find it?

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

A feeling of happiness, a state of happiness, a way of life. All of these could be true descriptions of happiness. However happiness is not just one thing or another; no, happiness has many different meanings depending on the situation and interpretation you have been exposed to- from those more secular to those with deeper spiritual meaning.

What is happiness? It’s a word that has been thrown around so much it has lost its meaning. We are told to pursue our dreams, follow our passions, and do what makes us happy. But how can we know if this is the right thing for us? The answer might just be simpler than you think. 

Happiness isn’t something you chase after, but rather something that will find you when your life matches up with who you truly are inside. It’s about being true to yourself and following your heart in every decision. And once you do – happy days!

Finding happiness. Where is it?

Happiness is difficult to find, this much is true. The happiness that we hear about today in society seems to be happiness linked with material possessions, money, and vanity. However happiness doesn’t come from any of these things (and if it does it won’t last).

Happiness comes from doing what you love – whatever that may be! It comes when you are living your life the way it was meant to be lived; pursuing happiness will only make you more miserable because happiness cannot be found by chasing after it. True happiness must converge.

When I’m happy I find myself doing things I never thought I would. Happiness fills me with joy and happiness is contagious.

Happiness will come to you, if you work for it.

Fellow happiness seekers, happiness might not be the first thing you find when you start looking for it, but happiness will make itself known to you if you are willing to pursue happiness. There’s happiness all around us! It’s time we learn to open our eyes and hearts, realize that happiness waits for us no matter what life throws at us.

What i do to find happiness is to take care of myself, I go to the gym, eat well and make sure my house is in order. I also try to be around people who make me laugh or smile a lot because happiness is contagious and is great for my well being.

Hold on a moment, there’s more!

Maslow built a pyramid

There was an American man called Abraham Maslow. He was born in 1908 and he studied psychology at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. Dr. Maslow is famous for his theory of a hierarchy of human needs.

Are you ready? Here comes the science bit…

In his influential paper of 1943, A Theory of Human Motivation , the psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that healthy human beings have a certain number of needs, and that these needs can be arranged in a hierarchy, with some needs (such as physiological and safety needs) being more primitive or basic than others (such as social and ego needs). Maslow’s so-called ‘hierarchy of needs’ is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels.

The proposed orderliness of this arrangement is appealing; however, some critics have pointed out that several levels may occur simultaneously or only one level may be relevant at any given time depending on circumstances. Because these theories are based on the assumption that people are motivated to satisfy lower level needs before they attempt to satisfy higher level needs, these theories are often portrayed as pyramid-shaped.

Maslows hierarchy of needs is thought to be universal; that is, it has been applied in many contexts across the world and applies to all human motivation. The pyramid of needs consists of five levels: 1) physiological, 2) safety, 3) love/belongingness, 4) esteem and 5) self-actualization. The five different levels in Maslow’s pyramid can be further explained by breaking each one down into its components.

Level one of the pyramid.

The pyramid begins with physiological needs at the bottom, these are basic human needs which are subdivided into two levels: basic biological drives and safety/security needs. Physiological needs tend to motivate people in their most primal states. If these physiological drives go awry, it can negatively impact the individual’s physical health, sense of self-worth and ability to function in social situations. When physiological needs are not satisfied, they become increasingly more powerful until they dominate an individual’s behavior.

Climbing higher up the pyramid.

The pyramid structure continues with the desire for safety which is also comprised of two levels: security/stability needs and feelings of national/global threat. Safety needs are often considered to be the most fundamental level of Maslow’ hierarchy, meaning that without this level being met, an individual may feel anxious or unprotected, even when higher levels are satisfied. Security needs are also considered to be closely related to physiological needs. For example, an individual may engage in violent behavior when his or her basic physiological needs aren’t met due to a lack of security.

Finding love and self esteem towards the top.

The pyramid progresses with the third level which is divided into two components: love/social belonging and self-esteem. This level broadly covers the desire for positive relationships, interactions and acceptance from others, as well as feelings of self-worth or mastery. Higher needs in this category include: sexual intimacy and healthy relationships; friends and family; group membership and integration; and cultural, religious and political affiliations.

Maslow believed that one could not achieve true interpersonal closeness until their need for esteem was met. Esteem presents itself in two ways: social recognition and success as well as self-respect and confidence. People who have strong feelings of low self tend to crave recognition from others. In addition to external validation, they may also desire internal validation by being able to say “I did that.” Validation by itself doesn’t lead to happiness. A thumbs up or a like on social media is very short-lived and doesn’t really do anything to improve the wellbeing of the person and it does very little to improve human behavior, human motivation, or human fulfillment.

Creativity makes for a happier human being.

The pyramid concludes with the fifth and final level of human needs: personal realization or need for self actualization. This is basically a self-focused level concerned with realizing an individual’s full potential and seeking personal growth. According to Maslow, this includes activities such as creative work, problem solving or learning new skills because these pursuits allow an opportunity for express one’s creativity. These human needs have been described as “being driven by curiosity” and consequently are hard to satisfy. I’ve found considerable improvements to my wellbeing as my abilities and self confidence have improved. In addition, once this level has been achieved, people may continue to explore new opportunities for self-fulfillment and live a happier life.

Happiness can come from achieving our growth needs in Maslow’s pyramid. Towards the top of the pyramid we have self-esteem. When this need is fulfilled happiness follows. Furthermore it brings us happiness where happiness comes from meeting our physiological needs in level one and safety needs in level three. However when these physiological and safety needs are not satisfied happiness cannot follow. It is a part of our human nature that we sometimes deny higher needs such as belongingness and esteem for happiness’ sake if it means something else needs to be done to keep us safe.

Lower levels of the pyramid can be satisfied while happiness remains unachieved. This shows that happiness is not the same as satisfaction, happiness follows after satisfaction and happiness can be a consequence of another need being met.

Ok, that’s the science bit over and done with!

Hopefully, you’re still here after the introduction to Dr. Maslow and his pyramid! It was a bit heavy going, right? Not to worry, I’m glad that you’re here. I’m getting there and I hope that you join me as I explore the meaning of happiness, joyfulness and serenity in upcoming posts on ThisHappyHuman.com

Happiness for me is a sense of inner peace, contentment and joy about life itself. It isn’t something you can bottle up or retail to others because it comes from within and it starts with my basic needs being met.

Happiness is all around us! Happiness is an emotion which we experience when our needs are fulfilled- whatever they may be. Most people pursue happiness only to find themselves disappointed in the end with nothing but emptiness left behind from chasing an unattainable goal. True happiness does not lie out there waiting for us – happiness lies within us all! It’s time we start to seek contentment and happiness from the inside out by doing what truly makes us happy.

Nobody said it was going to be easy. It is worthwhile!

The road to happiness is not an easy one nor does happiness arrive on your doorstep. True happiness comes when you are pursuing happiness in ways that make sense for you! Happiness will be different for each individual because happiness derives from whatever helps us achieve our needs – whatever those may be. One person might find happiness through religion while another person finds happiness through their career or family life. It’s time we realize that happiness awaits after meeting our basic human needs, our safety needs, our esteem needs, self-fulfillment, creative fulfillment and inner peace, not before!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Happy to have come across your blog, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting and thanks for taking time to leave a comment!

      I have a lot of new posts coming soon and I hope that you enjoy my journey towards happiness!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m on that same journey, looking forward to it w/ pleasure ❣️

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to ThisHappyHuman.com Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s