"You're not happy. You only think you're happy because you feel happy." – Lily, How I Met Your Mother.
I was watching How I Met Your Mother, one of my favorite American situation comedy series, when I found that very line. It was said by Lily, one of the main casts, to Barney, another main cast. In that episode, Barney was falling in love with a woman named Robin, but they chose not to define their relationship. Lily, who were friends with both Barney and Robin, thought that they had to talk about it, while both Barney and Robin didn't think that talking was necessary. Long story short, Lily didn't think that the uncoupled couple was happy, so she yelled out the line. Barney answered it with a question, "And that's not happy?" Frankly, that is also my question. If it isn't considered as happy then what is happy? How we define happy? How we define happiness?
Happiness is an abstract noun. Not only is it literally untouchable and invisible, but it's also undefined. Or in contrast, it's multi-defined. When it comes to what happiness means, we can ask hundreds of people to get hundreds of confused faces and mumbled words, or we can ask thousands of people to get thousands of different answers. But then, despite the fact that happiness is a sort of hard-to-be-defined word, it turns out that Dictionary.com has described it the best: "hap•pi•ness [hap-ee-nis] –noun 1. the quality or state of being happy." Brava, online dictionary! Happiness is that simple.
We may get some confused faces and mumbled words when we ask what happiness is, and it's simply because happiness is a state of being happy. We are just being happy, what else to describe? Happiness occurs when we know that we are happy; we feel happy. Happiness is what makes us feel happy when we're supposed to be unhappy.
We may also get various answers when we ask what happiness is, and it's simply because happiness is a state of being happy that each person bears in their own mind. Thus, obviously, nobody can feel exactly what we feel but ourselves. That's why my happiness is different from yours. That's why I can't judge your happiness, and you can't also judge mine. If Lily thinks that being in a complicated relationship is sort of unhappiness, she may be right because that's what she feels. But then, she can't say that Barney is unhappy because she can't exactly feel Barney.
Combining the undefined and the multi-defined version of happiness, we can say that happiness is a matter of perspective; happiness is a state of mind. It may seem to come out of nowhere, but actually it can be both something that comes as a response to an event and something that we ourselves create. If my mother comes to me and hand me a gift, I will feel happy. That happiness just comes out to me and hangs on my mind. I will probably be disappointed when I find out that the gift isn't what I really want, but if I can see it from any different perspective, I can still be happy. That happiness is what I create for my own good from a thing called being positive. That’s why my happiness is probably not your happiness, and that's why it is also hard to define. It quite explains the inexplicable, doesn't it?
Happiness is a state of mind; it's my state of mind and your state of mind. It's too broad to explain yet too narrow. Some random Lily may come to us and say, "You're not happy. You only think you're happy because you feel happy." Instead of asking ourselves what happiness is, we’d better reply, "Now that's what I call 'being happy'!"
P.s. I wrote this years ago, back when I was in college for my journalism class' assignment. I just feel like posting it here now.