‘Was chatting with a friend about happiness some time ago. So I thought to reflect on why we get happy, and why our happiness might persist. This piece tries to addresses the first question directly.
I identify four kinds of happiness, speak of a happiness personality test, and end with a hierarchy of happiness (Maslow style). I’ve used happiness here as the pleasant emotional sensation or feeling that comes with, and because of gratification or the anticipation of it.
The happiness for enjoyment:- Because of activity and participation; as getting a fix. E.g travelling, dancing, knitting, drugs, sex, drink, sports, games, marriage, etc.
Could she still be happy without enjoyments?
The happiness for possession:- Because I received, have, or own some one or some thing. E.g, cars, connection(s), gifts, girlfriends, friends, boyfriends, experiences checked off the checklist, celebrity status, spouse, friend, degrees, trophies, houses, etc.
Could she still be happy without possessions and enjoyments?
The happiness for events:- Because something that pleased you happened. E.g. birthdays, weddings, news of passing exams, visitors, and general good news, D. Trump wins? etc.
Could she still be happy without pleasant outcomes, possessions and enjoyments?
The happiness for achievement:- Because I finished or was rewarded. E.g. degrees, awards, promotion, meeting goals, hitting targets, putting your kids through school, marriage, wedding, etc.
Could she still be happy without achievements, pleasant news, possessions, and enjoyments?
Looking at our happinesses, which of these four has supplied most of them at various periods in our lives.
According to your lifestyle, if you were to rank these in order of power, permanence, or personal significance, how would you arrange them — top to bottom. That tells us where we are, in a way. Or, perhaps, where we might want to ‘improve.’ Like a happiness personality test.
Why did we order them the way we did? Nature, or nurture? I’d say that nurture started it all, with ‘life happening’ as an accomplice, and volition plastering it on nature.
Finally, considering the foregoing, and following the pattern of Maslow’s hierarchy or needs, here is my hierarchy of happiness. (First choice: PosEvAchEn; second choice: PoAchEvEn.) The first choice, in order of need:
Possessions:- Happy for what you have, that you have, or that you are.
Events:- Happy that some thing happened.
Achievements:- Happy that you made something happen.
Enjoyments:- Happy that you participated in something that tickled you.