When I was little I heard a saying that stuck to my mind “happiness is like a butterfly, if you pursue it, it flies away, if you don’t it sits on your hands”.  Also I heard a story that goes like this “a woman tells a priest that she is unhappy, and what should she do to become one.  He asks her to go to every house in the village to ask them if they are happy, and if so she must collect a single  seed of mustard of them. So she knocks on the first house and asks them if they are happy? they tell her their troubles, then she goes to the next house and the next and during her visits she got to know the people in her village and experienced first-hand their miseries and hardships, thus after a year she goes to the priest who asks her about the mustard seeds that she had collected from the villagers.  She tells him that what she saw made her forget about her request and that every person has something that may make him or her unhappy. But talking to the villagers made her realise that happiness can be attained by merely sharing life with others”

These two stories made me think of happiness all the time, but recently It all started with an article written about me in a magazine in Texas – USA.  That year was the year of happiness in the UAE and the magazine chose me to write about, as I had all it takes to be happy.  I became more obsessed with happiness and found a course on this subject on Coursera. where I learnt a lot about happiness and was able to list few things that can make people happier.

A month ago I attended a gathering for women entrepreneurs, one of the attendees mentioned a research on happiness that her company had done; it was astonishing to me that some people thought that happiness is not to drive to work, or to have a staircase that is not secluded and covered with a door, or having a park next to their residence, or a bench to set on in the park to read and so on.  Most of the happiness replies were extrinsic rather than intrinsic.  That got me thinking!  Will my friends (Some are Arabs, some Indians and some western) think of happiness in the same way? I must find out! as happiness is a very important subject and feeling happy can make our outlook in life better, our health better, and the world will have the best inhabitants.

My quest started and I sent a question to my database, a very simple question which basically was “what is happiness to you”.  The replies received from over 140 respondents are amazing and are almost all intrinsic. In actual fact none mentioned parks, driving and staircases, and non mentioned anything that has anything to do with external factors.

So for my group of respondents, 13% said inner peace is happiness , 12% thought family was their happiness, 10% thought that health and satisfaction in life was important and makes them happy,  6% the feeling that God is beside them in every step is happiness, 5% thought safety and security is happiness.  4% of the respondents thought money and wealth is happiness, Some thought that travelling (5%), Love (3%), a husband (2%), friends (6%), achievement (2%), harmony with oneself, attaining their goals and being positive is happiness.

Other replies are equally amazing, it ranges from owning cars, airplanes and material things, to being able to have children, having children, eating icecream and having a happy and healthy parents.  Some thought that writing that amazing article is happiness, others thought that books and contentment is happiness.

So happiness is not just having material wealth, nor it is having a park close to your house, it can be a feeling that one receives when giving to the poor, or going on a trip overseas or reading a book.  Happiness is something that happens to us but not necessarily all the time.  Happiness is a temporary feeling that can evaporate at any time and be replaced with other feelings. The important element is our quest. On the road of search to happiness we may encounter people and things that can change our outlook in life. We may have friends that can fill our life with joy, we may have children that can provide us with contentment. It’s very important to realise that life itself is happiness, if we cease to exist tomorrow that quest will be extinguished forever.  However, we must leave the flame to be carried by others and record our moments of happiness.

Here are some of the amazing replies that I received:

Happiness is the reflection of my true self to the world without being bombarded by the unwritten rules of the tradition and the harsh criticism of society

Happiness is when I achieve great results and what I do helps me and other people and makes my family proud of me

Happiness is having enough money to live on and help others

Happiness is health, smiles and achieving all my dreams

Happiness is having a family and friends who love me, peace and lots of smiles” (10 years old)

A happy and a successful life is a choice not a gift, yet a blessed spirit at its finest form is the result of positive, kind and wise choices made with the correct approach, good intention and core values combined.. that is the ultimate strength, the perfect love and the true essence of living a meaningful life with one powerful purpose…happiness!

Happiness is life without impediment and disturbances

A husband who is my best friend

The Little daily tasks that provide happiness

Happiness is Living the moment

Depending on God, inner peace and not getting involved with what others think

Having a Conscience is happiness

Happiness is a feeling that is not permanent and can be affected by any situation, hence our continuous quest to find it

Happiness is contentment and satisfaction of what God had given us

Happiness is contentment of what one has and aspiring for better life

Happiness is setting in a Bentley car, thinking where should I travel in the winter, while my kids take their wives and kids to ski. I will be free with no responsibilities, have plenty of money and a private jet so I can travel anywhere in the world and who should I accompany with me?

Happiness is feeling joy, content and satisfaction, people may have different thoughts about happiness because of their different natures and interests. Some of them think happiness in money, position or fame …etc. and so many people die looking for the roads to happiness.

Happiness has no measures or quantities. Happiness is lovely moments we live in faith, charity work and praying to God via drawing a smile on a child face, giving food to hungry people, a moment of defending the oppressed and do right and justice. Happiness is Love between the child and his parents, a kiss from a mother to her child, a prayer from the parents. Happiness is a moment that lead us to God and true prayer to each other.

Happiness is being content of what you got, either bad or good. If the person (either a male or female) gets used to it, this will effects the personality and will be happy with the inner peace in oneself and one’s environment.

Happiness is a temporary concept and is relative to the time

Happiness is having my mom and dad in my life, they are my happiness

Happiness is peace of mind, ignoring other people, our health and looking at everything in a positive way

Happiness is a relative matter cannot be measured or determined. It is different from a person to another. Maybe it’s contentment, or power, or humanity in a minimum or maximum way. It’s the feeling that all of us work hard to reach

Happiness is a contentment with myself

Happiness is the stability in life

Happiness is positivity

Happiness is sleeping without disturbing

Happiness is taking off my bra

Happiness when you don’t have pain

Happiness is Feeling the pain

Happiness is loving and cooperative husband

Happiness is healthy children and grand children

Happiness is being transparent in giving and loving all. The love I give makes me feel that I have a real treasure within me that lets me feel and touch the love that people reciprocate. Happiness is like a tree with strong roots, it’s hardness does not change, it grows through its roots into a life full of love-leafs which it distributes as gifts to the hearts of those around it; here the tree embodies the spirit of giving and cohesion. Let happiness be a long bridge to all beautiful hearts that meets at one point give love without conditions and giving without getting, this makes me happy!

Happiness is contentment with God and my parents and with everything God had provided me with. Feeling secure, safe, peace of mind and health. Sometimes not caring about things around me brings happiness!

Happiness is to be content from your heart with everything you have, either a house, certificate, family or occupation, and you thank God for it, even if it was a small thing like good health

Happiness is the contentment and the satisfaction in believing that what God had given us in this life;  if we have faith that God will not oppress us, then everybody will live happy and satisfied that what he has from objects and senses are given to us to benefit and improve oneself and other; I will surely be happy and I will draw the most beautiful smile and I will never let sadness surrounds me. I will never blame people or time of causing me problems, because everything happens for a good reason. You may hate something, but It’s the right thing for you! And the most important thing is my parent’s approval of me

Happiness in my opinion is getting birth of a heathy baby

Happiness is to see my mom happy and to be able to fulfil her dreams

Being able to sleep without worries

Seeing my husband makes me happy

Happiness is the normal state of mind. One must make sure that other negatives should not over shadow it

Happiness is reading a good book. And feeling inner peace

Being able to make everyone happy

Would love to feel content with what I have. Once I feel that stage I will be happy

Happiness is when I am in Harmony with myself

When I am with friends I don’t need acknowledgement

When I trust myself I don’t have fear in my heart

When I learn to forgive myself and others I am free and happy

Happiness is finishing a box of donuts then finding another box hidden in the closet

Happiness is feeling content with your situation and finding a positive light

Happiness is a lucid thing, thus the feeling of happiness is temporary, one has to pursue contentment as that is an eternal feeling.  In one of the articles in Quran, God told the profit I will give you to your heart content, and didn’t say I will give you till you are happy

Happiness is traveling and spending time with the family

Happiness for me signifies family, friends, relationships, good health, a roof over my head, some money, travel plans, peace and harmony in the world and the knowledge that I am able to make a difference in the lives of people whose life I touch

Happiness is depending on and believing in God, when humans believe in God, we receive peace of mind, inner purity and we will never care about other people and why certain bad events are happening to us. This will make life easier and people will accept the bad things and will feel happy and content

Here is a good story for you happiness seakers:

A psychology scientist has done an experiment of on a group of children in Africa; he puts a fruit basket near a tree, he told them that the first kid who reaches the tree will get the whole basket.

When he asked them to start, he was shocked that all the kids were walking together in a sequence holding each other’s hands till they reached the tree and shared the fruits together.

When the scientist asked them why did they do that, when they have the chance to win the whole basket?

They answered him: how can one of us be happy and the rest are sad?!

This Primitive tribe in Africa knows the real meaning of happiness that many of us loose it. the only people that knows the secret of happiness is the people that can forgive, are modest, and their emblem is always (We not I). everything will be minimized if we share, except Happiness, it grows via sharing with people”

Finally, I felt like sharing this video that shows a speaker on happiness that is so interesting: