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What is Happiness?

By: ZachaReid

Happiness? What is it? Some say it’s the feeling of contentment or accomplishment. Others say it’s getting what you want when you want it. But happiness truly can never be fully described in words; it can only be felt. I believe the only true way to feel happiness is to experience pain, because happiness in reality is the absence of unhappiness.

The only true way to experience happiness is to feel the pain—embrace the pain of heartache. I personally am someone whose every feeling is escalated to an exponential degree. This is a benefit, but also an enormous burden. While my highs reach the sky, my lows fall into the abyss. So when something gets me down, it gets me really really down. However, I embrace this feeling. I need this feeling. One of the greatest benefits of being human is the ability to feel, for it gives us a reason to be alive, even if that feeling is sadness. One must understand how it feels to want to just give up if he wants to sincerely soar. From this, one can then feel the true heights of happiness.

It’s the filling up of that hole, the pit inside of you, which rages and controls your entire being. When someone is unhappy, often he tries to fill the emptiness with “feel goods” through sexuality, drugs, or other form of instant pleasure. This is not happiness, but rather contentment through distraction. One must fill this whole with one and only one thing: relationship.

Man is not an island, for why should anybody have to be alone. All people desire to find others who “feel” as they do. As in the Box Car Racer song “There Is”, they sing, “That there’s someone out there who feels just like me, There is.” Relationship is powered by the sharing of emotional intimacy with someone where two minds become one. This song means so much to me, not because it’s a feel good, but because whenever I am down in the dumps, it reminds me that there is a plan for me, a plan where I will form these emotionally intimate relationships with other people.

For some people, they feel “happiness” by being “better” at something than someone, but this isn’t happiness at all. This really falls under the category of being a “feel good”. I’m sure you know at least one person whose only desire in life is to constantly prove their superiority over you. To be honest, I feel sorry for these people. They try to divert the pain from their own insecurities by convincing themselves that they are somehow “better”. Nobody who carries on this mentality will ever find true happiness, for to find happiness in relationship, one must feel happy when his companion succeeds, not suffers.

People need other people to survive; that’s what makes us human. It’s our compassion that separates us from all other animals. When a baby is born, the doctors make sure that the baby experiences human contact, for if he doesn’t, he may not survive. Even Thoreau couldn’t handle being away from all humanity for more than a few years. Think about the last time you felt the deepest sense of happiness. True happiness. I’d bet that it came from relationships with other people. At this point in my life, I have but one experience that stands out as the moment of my most intense happiness. After delivering my Kairos speech, I was filled with an ineffable rush of happiness in the purest state. I felt this from the relationship I had just created with all 50 people present. I knew that those people “felt” like me in that one overwhelming moment. The compassion I felt in that one, single moment… it was the best.

Now, this is just my interpretation of happiness in a few words. This is how I feel. As I said, it can’t be defined, but felt. So I urge you, desire relationship. Cherish it. And as a close, live loving and love living.


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