Wednesday, May 12, 2010
An ellusive concept
Happiness seems a confusing emotion. When I ask my 7th grade students how they felt after something good happened, and they reply they felt "happy", I immediately tell them to choose another word. Happy is one of those "old, tired" words we English teachers want our students to avoid. It is worn out and not very descriptive when you are using it to describe an event. Elated, or joyful, excited or exhilarated are so much more colorful, don't you agree?? We see "happy" as the elementary word, and we want our growing kids to expand their vocabularies.
If you ask an adult, however, if they are Happy, well, you begin to see the weight of that question almost overtake them physically. What IS Happy? How do we define it? The same word uttered so easily by my 4 year old leaves me in a quandary. Am. I. Happy?
Is happiness the same as contentment? Maybe. Am I content? No, not really. Content means complacency, at least to me, and there is more I want: more security in my life, I want a house with a roof that doesn't leak, I want a job that pays better.. so NO, I am not content, at least not in those terms.
Is happiness the same as fulfillment? Maybe.. I have a great family whom I adore, and on good days, I can say my day job gives me a sense of fulfillment. My writing fills me up, my photography gives back to me, so I suppose if you can say happiness equals emotional fulfillment, then yes, I would say I'm happy.
It seemed like an easy subject when I first saw it: write about happiness. But I'm not Webster, and this was not an easy thing to define, let alone write about.
So.. how about you? How do you define HAPPINESS? Do you dare to answer the question... Are You Happy?
Posted by Samantha at 2:59 AM