Have you ever asked yourself : what is happiness ? This question is probably as old as the human race and it talks about our ever ending search for fulfillment. Different cultures and different people have always interpreted happiness in their own ways. For example, while some cultures have put religious development as a main pillar of happiness others – like our current culture – have put a much more prominent weight on wealth. So what is exactly happiness ?

On today’s post I want to share with you ten of the most wonderful definitions of happiness I have found through my life. I have found some online and some through conversation with my sister (who majored in philosophy) and friends and I believe that each one holds a little bit of truth in what finally gets us to that perfect state, we like to call happiness. So what exactly is happiness for me ? The next ten definitions will give you a clue !

1. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. This definition was given by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it holds an important clue to one of the most important characteristics of happiness. When you make others happy, you make yourself happy. How simple and how true.

2. To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. This phrase was said by Bertrand Russell and it definitely holds a lot of truth. Happiness seems to depend – on a great degree – on dreams. Having goals, dreams and things you want to do is an undeniably important part of happiness.

3. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. A brilliant quote from Mohandas Gandhi that definitely talks a lot about the reason why many people aren’t happy. It talks about the needed coherence between thought and action which makes people peaceful and happy. When you do not deceive and you’re transparent and honest, then you will be happier.

4. Happiness is a Swedish sunset – it is there for all, but most of us look the other way and lose it. A friend of mine once told me this quote from Mark Twain about happiness and he was certainly right. People often neglect opportunities to be happy for opportunities to be miserable because they do not understand the real needs in their lives.

5. Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. This should be one of Albert Schweitzer’s most famous quotes and it is something we can definitely relate to. This definition talks about how happiness is achieved when we are in good health and we don’t remember. What if you could forget those debts or that bad marriage ? would you be happier ?

6. Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness. Sophocles was a Greek philosopher and this quote from him survives to this day. I learned it several years ago when I was studying for my major. This quote tells us that wisdom is a major part of happiness, mainly that without wisdom, happiness cannot be attained. I truly believe that this is true, as you grow older and wiser, you tend to value more important things in life while the material and worldly things you treasured before start to look unnecessary and vane.

7. The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. This definition by Allan K. Chalmers is perhaps the most complete guide to happiness. Do something, love something and hope for something and you will be happy. I can tell you that these three things are vital and I know that the fulfillment coming out from all of them certainly brings a great sense of well being and achievement. If you are currently unhappy you will probably see that you are missing one of these.

8. But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? Albert Camus definitely hits the nail on the head with this one. Happiness is merely harmony between yourself and your life. If you are satisfied with your life and your circumstances you will be happy if you are not, then you should change your circumstances to be in harmony with yourself. That is a great definition of happiness.

9. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. I found this beautiful quote by Tenzin Gyatso a Dalai Lama a few years ago. It talks about how compassion brings happiness, not only to others but to you. It tells you that you should focus on others and in doing so you will focus on yourself.

10. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet. Finally I believe that the most valuable quote I can remember right now comes from James Oppenheim who gave us this great insight about happiness. If you are not happy then you and only you must make the changes to achieve happiness. It is not about looking for it somewhere else, it is about building it around yourself and your family.

I hope that after reading this post you have found the defitinions both eye-opening and inspirational. Definitely I learned a little bit from each one of them, trying to put them in practice all the time. Certainly once you truly understand the meaning of each one of these definitions and put an effort to apply them everyday you will see how each one contributes to your happiness.