How Do You Define Happiness?
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“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
Of all the phrases bestowed to us by the Founding Fathers, few come up more than pursuit of happiness. Yet who knows where the nation really stands on that score. Now an answer may be forthcoming. Amid a wave of research on the subject, the federal government is seeking ways to measure what some have called Gross National Happiness (GNH).
A panel of experts in psychology and economics began convening in December to try to define reliable measures of subjective well-being. If successful, these could become official statistics.
The idea of the government tallying personal feelings might seem frivolous or impossibly difficult. For decades, after all, the world has gotten by with gauging a nation’s quality of life on the basis of its GDP, or gross domestic product, the sum of its economic output. But economists and others have long recognized that GDP, a dollars and cents measure, doesn’t count everything that might be considered important when assessing living conditions. Our gross national product accepts that which makes life worthwhile.
But as the government ventures into the squishy realm of feelings, statisticians will first have to define happiness and then how to measure it. Neither is a trivial matter. There is even some doubt whether people, when polled, can accurately say whether they are happy. Personally I think they are on the wrong track.
Well, I have a suggestion. First they have to differentiate between happiness and joy. Happiness comes from without; joy comes from within. Happiness is often determined by our economic station in life. Joy comes from inner peace in our soul. Happiness focuses on the now; joy looks to eternity. Happiness comes on the mountain tops; joy is peace in the valleys of life.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentation 3:22-23). Now that is the wellspring of true joy and the measuring stick for us all.
How to you define happiness? You spell it joy and it’s not something capable of external numerical evaluation since it comes from within and when you have it, no one needs to measure it because it becomes an obvious part of your daily life.
Questions: Are you living a life of happiness and joy? If not, what steps can you take today to move towards having joy?