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01-24-2011 - Are we having fun yet?

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I've always been fascinated by what makes people happy. Synonyms of "joy" illustrate the wide definition applied to this emotion - notice the word "treasure"...

great happiness, pleasure, alleviation, amusement, animation, bliss, charm, cheer, comfort, delectation, delight, diversion, ecstasy, elation, exultation, exulting, felicity, festivity, frolic, fruition, gaiety, gem, gladness, glee, good humor, gratification, hilarity, humor, indulgence, jewel, jubilance, liveliness, luxury, merriment, mirth, pride, pride and joy, prize, rapture, ravishment, refreshment, regalement, rejoicing, revelry, satisfaction, solace, sport, transport, treasure, treat, wonder

Many things can make us happy, but casting them into two distinct types can indicate what choices may be best regarding our future state of mind. One is like money. Money cannot make you happy, but it does serve as a lubricant allowing one to actualize their dreams which...actually sounds pretty fun...just kidding. The other type of joy comes about seemingly of its own free will. It comes when one stops fighting for it. A person can do their best, provide help, comfort and advice, work hard, have ambition, strive for change and make the most of life without a fight. It all depends upon how they organize it in their mind, whether they work from a foundation of acceptance and whether they strive to act from a point of loving-kindness. Many sociopaths and psychopaths are among us today that do not feel these emotions - just an FYI.

Happiness has some relatives: contentment and serenity. Many attempt to control everyone and everything around them. These folks are, generally, not very content due to our inability to predict a person's thoughts or actions. The unreliability and inefficiency of man's world also make control difficult. In effect, attempting to control results in expectations, and expectations not met can result in negative emotions. The fewer expectations one has and the less lofty they are (for yourself and others) the smoother the road, assuming that these few expectations are realistic. Relinquishing control over things you cannot control seems like a good idea.

Personally speaking, I find that my emotions are, at times, projected onto the real world. In other words, if I'm grouchy, people around me generally know it. If one pays attention to their behavior, which usually consists of reactions instead of thought-out responses, they may find what is truly bothering them and try to fix it. Self-honesty is the only prerequisite.

I have heard that the heights of joy one can attain are directly proportional to the depths of sorrow one has reached. I don't know if that's true, but psychological pain can force the mind to come to terms with reality and, at the same time, make that reality easier to understand. This might afford a person a bit more peace and happiness, regardless of what's going on around them.

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