How can you be happy?
You can go around the world asking people what they want the most, what they strive for, and you will get the same answer in all 6,500 languages. Everyone wants to be happy. But how does happiness work? How can you reach fulfillment in yourself and be truly happy?
Happiness is a phenomenon that you can’t really measure because happiness is simply incalculable, but in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid, it provides the closest idea to it. He explains five stages that we have to pass through to reach true happiness.
Physiological needs which are the basic necessities of life: water, food, shelter, sleep and clothing. You can’t have a happy life if the most basic needs in life are not met. There has been many people in third world countries who find themselves in poverty but as long as they have something to eat and a place to stay they are happy with it, even if it is not a luxurious home.
The next one is Safety needs like personal security, employment, resources, health, and property. This talks about how there is happiness due to employment and a feeling of financial stability. This goes back to the former one where you need food and water to live a happy life, in turn you also need personal security because by knowing that those things are secure is a step towards true happiness. A job also helps people be happy as they are a working member of society and people are more satisfied with themselves when they feel that they have value within themselves.
Love and belonging, friendship, intimacy, family, a sense of connection. Imagine being the only person in the world. With no one to talk to and share with what would be the point in existing. Being alone on the plant would drive a person crazy because human connection is necessary for survival. Have friends and family to love is what gives true meaning to living.
Next in the hierarchy of needs is Esteem which includes Self-Esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others. People have the need to be accepted because no one wants to be left outside of the circle and also to feel respected. When someone is being disrespected they feel insulted and as if the other people don’t care about what they are saying or feeling. Being recognized and appreciated on the other hand makes a happy accomplished person.
Lastly is Self- actualization which is morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudices, acceptance of facts. This is the last step to true happiness. To have spontaneity and excitement in your life. For a person to be able to express themselves truly through creativity. This is the stage where you are happy with yourself and everything happening around you.
This is one way of viewing happiness, imagine that there is a golden light with a grassy field once you complete these five stages. I fully agree that you need food, water and a place to stay for happiness, but I don’t think there is a state of pure happiness and self actualization stage. Happiness feels more like it comes in spurs of joy and that there isn’t a state, just moments in life where you truly enjoy yourself. I guess what I’m trying to say is happiness comes in the form of blissful moments, not overall satisfaction with life.