What Is Happiness In Life

By Kenny Lee | Life

May 21

Some of us are lucky enough to have a childhood carefree and filled with laughter. Some did not have the blessing for What Is Happiness In Life
such memories. But eventually, as we grew up, we felt the burden of expectation and responsibilities, and we do not remember the day, we lost the magic of laughter.

And so begin our lifelong journey in search of happiness. Some thought that reaching the top of the corporate ladder, where promises of luxurious lifestyle await them is the answer. Some started building their own empire, and some have chosen to live the monotonous life thinking that lesser worries equate happiness.

No matter what our worldly goals and dreams are, if we take the time to look within, we found the common goal is to be happy and to avoid suffering. And yet when we have achieved all that we set to do, we found a moment of joy and pleasure that come as a fruit of our achievement, but alas, those feelings are not permanent. And when they subside, we question, where has happiness gone? And we begin another journey, seeking the elusive permanent happiness.

Happiness is NOT Pleasure

Perhaps we have been searching the wrong thing after all. Perhaps we do not understand what is happiness. And because of that, we search for happiness in places that they could never be found. Happiness is NOT pleasure, whether in the form of material or sensual. Sensual and material pleasure does not bring long-lasting happiness. And because pleasure depends on the object or subject, it is fragile and when we cling to it, only feeling of emptiness and suffering ensues as the pleasure fades.

Happiness is NOT Absence of Suffering

Suffering could be in the form of anxiety, stress, worries or it could take the physical form of illnesses or disabilities. If we are to expect true happiness when we are free of all these, then we only set ourselves for a major disappointment. The nature of life, which transcend religion and belief, is that we are born, grow old, have sickness and die. This is one truth, that when we are in denial, happiness remains elusive.

Happiness is NOT Laughter What Is Happiness In Life

Before you thought I have lost my mind here, let me explain why so. We laugh when we are amused by comedy,  tickled by jokes and sometimes when we met up with long lost friends. But have you ever experienced laughing out loud only to feel an emptiness when the excitement subsides? Only not to know what have you been laughing at. Sometimes laughter could just be an emotional release and may not be true happiness.

I believe there are many more misconceptions of what happiness is. And if these are not true happiness, then what is? I too had once thought happiness to be associated with material and sensual pleasure, that I need to have a smooth life, to be in control and to never feel sadness, disappointment or failures. A few setbacks in life forced me to reevaluate and rediscover what happiness is all about.

Happiness is Being Contented

The happiness that I am talking about is not the wild burst of energy that gives you a high and leaves you dangling after. This happiness is the feeling of calm, of peace. It does not need to have all your problems to go away. It is like floating on top of a vortex, where you can see the vortex spinning furiously, and yet you are not affected by it. It is the clear mind, able to think objectively while navigating through the daily problems that bring a better definition of happiness.

As we laboured towards our goal and dream, we forgot to appreciate what we have and who we are. This by itself steals happiness away. This happiness is found, by appreciating every single thing that life has given us so far. The fact that we are able to open our eyes for another day is, in fact, something to be grateful for each day. The moment we remember to count our blessing, the magic of happiness starts to appear.

Happiness is Being Here and Now

It is natural for us to be ambitious, and to plan meticulously for the future. Or sometimes we take a visit to our past, lamenting the “what-if” and “could be”. What robs us of happiness is not the act of envisioning our dream or reflecting our past, but it is the clinging of memories and hopes. When we cling and are attached to the past and future, we cease to exist in the present. We forgot to live in the here and now. And we let life pass by us, every single second, letting the joy of experiencing escapes us. Happiness is found by enjoying every moment in the present and at the same time being detached from it. It is like opening our hand and let the river flows over it, feeling every single pure sensation.

Happiness is GivingWhat Is Happiness In Life

Giving without expectation is the moment of pure indescribable joy. That is an example that as you give you receive more. Not in the form of material wealth, but in the form of true joy, happiness, and spiritual fulfillment, that cannot be bought and neither be taken away. If you have not tried giving wholeheartedly, perhaps this is the right time to do so.

What is happiness to you? Would you prefer the short moment of excitement and pleasure or the calm and peaceful state of mind? Which one is your happiness? Do share with me your thoughts and comments.

About the Author

I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.

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(16) comments

Val May 23, 2016

A very eye opening post. It makes me think. Happiness is quite elusive also. Our world now distracts us from finding inner peace and happiness. And it is good you pointed out that happiness is not pleasure. Since a lot of times people mistake pleasure for happiness. And this thinking sometimes leads people to a lot of disappointments.

    Kenny Lee May 23, 2016


    Perhaps the quick pace of life, have given the misconception that happiness is something that ought to be chase. Maybe the disappointments could be avoided if one would stop chasing and learn that happiness is never a destination.


Michelle May 23, 2016

Hey There

I agree with you. Happiness is not just a smile, it is allot more. It is the inner peace you feel, the giving without expecting to receive.
Love your website, very motivational.
All the best.

    Kenny Lee May 24, 2016

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for reading. You are right, it’s all about the inner peace and calm.


John Savage May 23, 2016

Yeah I agree with Val’s post above.

The pressure of paying bills seems to be getting the way of happiness it seems or is it?

Is that we’re not taught the secrets of how to practice being happy?

I agree with you too. the here and now it all important. How can I not be frustrated though by not having my dreams secured now? Does this make sense?

    Kenny Lee May 24, 2016

    Hi John,

    The pressure of paying bills gets in the way of happiness because we allow it. Stress drives out happiness because we allow it. Because we cling on to the worries of all the things that can go wrong that peace and happiness elude us. Being happy is a skill, of how to work our way out of problem, and yet being detached from the emotional clinging. Frustration produce negative energy, and it does not attract good things to us.


moses May 25, 2016

i love your website. it is very inspirational.
i do believe that hapiness means different things to different people.
for me hapiness is fullfilling yourself, in a way which makes you feel you haven’t wasted your life for nothing.

    Kenny Lee May 25, 2016

    Hi Moses,

    Yes indeed, happiness does indeed has different meaning to different people. And the feeling that you haven’t wasted your life is definitely is a form of happiness itself. Fulfilling ourself bring joy and good feeling, but recently I found that a greater joy is found when we give in service to other without expectation.


Chawn Bracey June 8, 2016

Happiness can definitely be a life long journey. You make great points in the article. It is true that some people never even know what happiness even is to them so they spend there life chasing what they think will make them happy. When they achieve it they may still be empty on the inside. I think it is important to take the time and learn about yourself and who you really are before you chase any dream.

    Kenny Lee June 9, 2016


    The thought of happiness lies at the end of any journey has made people goes into senseless quest for the ever elusive happiness. I totally understand about feeling hollow after having achieve all that we sought. The joy and pleasure is momentary and in the end we questioned ourselves.


Liz June 28, 2016

This was a great post on happiness. Recently I came across a personal development program and the teacher was talking about happiness and how we can be happy, He teaches something that has stuck in my head ever since: if we can’t be happy in the present moment, it is unlikely we will ever be happy even when we have achieved what it is that we want. The reason for this is, if we are striving for something and we keep thinking ‘I will be happy when I reach this goal’, and we are miserable while we work towards it, our brain gets hard wired to be miserable, and when we achieve the thing we want, we won’t be able to enjoy it because we are so used to being unhappy. He says that happiness must be practiced. This teaching has kind of haunted me ever since and has been hugely eye opening because nobody has ever explained happiness to me like that before. It truly is about being present to the very moment you are in, as you say, but why is that so hard sometimes?

    Kenny Lee June 28, 2016

    Hi Liz,

    I am glad you found a great teacher who explained happiness to you. It was never easy, because our mind is conditioned since young to associate “Getting something” as “Happiness”. And we are also taught to label either “Good” or “Bad” on things that come to our five senses. When we put labels, we either choose to be happy or unhappy. And as we demand better things in life, guess what happened to our “Happiness”? Being present, or in another terms being mindful, takes practice. And like any other skill, it is very difficult in the beginning. And at times you would feel like giving up. But don’t. You would not notice your progress but YOU are progressing. You will only notice your LOSS of progress when you gave up. Keep up the good work.

    Stop chasing for happiness. You never know if happiness has been chasing you.


Lawrence August 10, 2016

Hey Kenny =)

Really love your site and the energy you have put into it so far.

You have created some topics about mind power and well=being.

” Happiness is found by enjoying every moment in the present and at the same time being detached from it. It is like opening our hand, and let the river flows over it, feeling every single pure sensation.”

I completely agree with that. Living in the NOW is the most important thing… Why? Because life only exists now.

I will be a regular visitor here.

Thanks =)

    Kenny Lee August 12, 2016

    Hi Lawrence,

    Thank you. Whether we are facing good or bad times in life, it is important to live in the present. As you put it, life only exists now.


Rachel August 20, 2016

I totally agree with the point that Happiness is Being Contented.

I’ve known of people who can relive the taste of short bursts of happiness during their most panful times to keep them moving forward.

However, personally I prefer a more peaceful lifestyle, one that I can be grateful for living everyday, one that I can smile at everyone I meet from the depths of my heart, and one that I can give continuously, knowing that I will receive the same equal gifts from others because they are like me, happy in their peacefulness.

    Kenny Lee August 21, 2016

    Hi Rachel,

    People often chased the short them joy. But when they realised that the effort and sacrifice is too great for that little amount of happiness. They often seek within for something that last longer.

    Thanks for reading.


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