Are you ‘happy’?

What is this happiness thing that we all seem to aspire to achieve but can scarcely define it nor recognise it when it comes along (It’s a little like that other abstract noun; Love)

Google defines ‘Happiness’ as this:

noun: happiness; plural noun: happinesses
  1. 1.
    the state of being happy.
    “she struggled to find happiness in her life”
    synonyms: contentment, pleasure, contentedness, satisfaction, cheerfulness, cheeriness, merriment, merriness, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joyousness, joviality, jollity, jolliness, glee, blitheness, carefreeness, gladness, delight, good spirits, high spirits, light-heartedness, good cheer, well-being, enjoyment, felicity; More

    exuberance, exhilaration, elation, ecstasy, delirium, jubilation, rapture, bliss, blissfulness, euphoria, beatitude, transports of delight;
    heaven, paradise, seventh heaven, cloud nine;
    “her eyes shone with happiness”
    antonyms: unhappiness

I think one thing is clear and that is that happiness means something different to every person. It is a state of mind that is not defined by wealth or circumstances. Why are some of the wealthiest people so unhappy and some of the least fortunate so happy?

Pharrell Williams currently has the most popular exploration of this concept through song in his hit, simply entitled ‘Happy'(If you haven’t heard this song, where have you been and I dare you to listen without carelessly bobbing your head along!)

Hundreds of songs through the years have been made about the human condition and the state of happiness, unhappiness or the need to be happy. Here are just a few examples as listed by

Are You Happy Now? – 2003 – Michelle Branch

Are You Happy Now? – 2012 – Cassadee Pope

Born To Make You Happy – 2000 – Britney Spears

Come On Get Happy (from the tv show The Partridge Family) – 1970 – The Partridge Family

Don’t Worry Be Happy (here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry, be happy) – 1988 – Bobby McFerrin

Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy – 1965 – The Kinks

Get Happy – 1954/1955 – Frank Sinatra


Happiness – 2010 – Alexis Jordan

Happy – 1972 – The Rolling Stones

Happy – 1995 – MN8

Happy – 2002 -Ashanti

Happy – 2009 – Leona Lewis

Happy – 2013/2014 – Pharrell Williams

Happy Anniversary (happy anniversary baby, got you on my mind) – 1978 – Little River Band

Happy Birthday – 1981 – Altered Images

Happy Birthday – 1981 – Stevie Wonder

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen (sha-la-la-la la-la la-la, happy birthday sweet sixteen) – 1962 – Neil Sedaka

Happy Days (Sunday, Monday, happy days, Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days, Thursday, Friday, happy days; these days are yours and mine, happy days)- 1976 – Pratt and McClain

Happy Days And Lonely Nights – 1955 – Ruby Murray

Happy Days And Lonely Nights – 1955 – Frankie Vaughan

Happy-Go-Lucky-Me – 1960 – Paul Evans

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby – 1957 – The Tune Weavers

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (cover version) – 1964 – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Happy Hour – 1986 – Housemartins

Happy Jack – 1967 – The Who

Happy Man – 1974 – Chicago

Happy New Year – 1980 – ABBA

Happy Organ, The (Instrumental) – 1959 – Dabe “Baby” Cortez

Happy People – 1975 – The Temptations

Happy People – 2004 – R. Kelly

Happy Pills – 2012 – Norah Jones

H.A.P.P.Y. Radio – 1979 – Edwin Starr

Happy Song, The (Dum-Dum) – 1968 – Otis Redding

Happy Talk – 1982 – Captain Sensible

Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun – 1975 – Demis Roussos

Happy To Be With You – 1965 – Johnny Cash

Seems like there’s a lot of us striving for happiness doesn’t it?

Over the years, I have romanticised the idea of being happy. Disney films and fairy tales have their part to play in this I suspect. After losing a parent before the age of 10, I was a little lost soul. But strangely enough, I have always been a generally happy content person since. The eternal optimist. I think that adversity over the years has forced me to be happy with the things that I had versus being unhappy about what I lost.

If I wasn’t happy with my current situation, what would be the point of life, especially if it was something I had no control over?

A lot of the people I have met over the years have been a little unsure of my optimism.

What is she happy about?

Why is she smiling?

Is she being fake?

I simply tried to trick myself into being happy hoping that it would stick. As for others, my unhappy feelings were nothing to do with them so why should I inflict them on others?

Over time, my optimism has been tested to the very limits. As an adult, I feel that I am coming to terms with the idea of happiness and feel very strongly about nurturing these feelings in myself and others.

Happiness is journey, not a destination. We aren’t going to suddenly wake up one day feeling intense joy and satisfaction about our circumstances. We have to slow down our busy lives and make time to smell the roses.

That’s my idea of happy.

Not settling, occasionally selfishly indulging yourself in things that make you feel good, making time for others and being thankful for the good things in your life.

What is your idea of ‘happy’?


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