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Walker1 Rachel Walker Professor Lago College Writing 16 September 2013 Happiness What is happiness?

A noun that can be defined in many ways, but how one achieves complete happiness is a question as old as time. In Mark Kingwells essay, In Pursuit of Happiness, and Jennifer Seniors, Some Dark thoughts on Happiness, the authors explain why sadness is a key component for obtaining true happiness through personal and social experiences, and as a species. In order to be happy someone must feel sorrow first. I have felt both sorrow and happiness. When my boyfriend and I broke up I was sad and felt lonely. The memories I had with him kept replaying in my head. At first it was hard to deal with, but after a while things got easier. I began to feel happiness again and realized I didnt need him to live my life. I took the online Authentic Happiness Inventory test while my boyfriend and I were still dating. My happiness score was 3.38 out of 5.0. My score is above average compared to all of the categories. However, after we broke up, my score came out to a lower average. This shows that I was happy while dating him but after we broke up my happiness level dropped. People all have different definitions of happiness because of personal experiences that have occurred in their lives. For example, when I was kid I loved jumping on the bed. What child doesnt? However, one day when I was jumping I bounced off and cut

Walker2 my foot open on the end of the bed. An activity that all kids enjoy became a scar on the bottom of my foot that I will never forget. The desire to understand happiness, to get hold of it, that is common in our culture, central to our many daily judgments about life, love, work, politics, and play (Kingwell 413). Our daily lives consist of the five actions listed above. In a social perspective we encounter sadness and happiness through each of these. Love can make someone feel butterflies in their stomach, until the person they thought would never hurt them does. A woman can go from being loved and happy to lonely and heartbroken in a matter of seconds. In Seniors essay, she tells us that the people that seem happy truthfully arent. For example, married people are happier than those who are not. On the former point, Seligmans book cites a 35,000-person poll from the National Opinion Research Center, in which 40 percent of married Americans described themselves as very happy, compared with just 24 percent of unmarried Americans who said the same (Senior 425). Smarter people arent any happier, attractive people are slightly happier than unattractive people, and men arent any happier than women. As a species we look at other humans that are happy and become jealous, wishing we had the happiness that they have. In a poll done by the Roper organization, the Danes, Americans, and the Australians rated themselves the happiest (Senior 426). People of the Eastern European nations like Lithuania, Estonia, and Romania rate themselves the least happy. However a study shows that the people in the happiest countries are more likely to commit suicide (Senior 426). Both Senior and Kingwell cannot define happiness with a true definition. Happiness is undefined as they both tell us with many different sources and explanations.

Walker3 No one can accurately define happiness; in fact, everyone has his or her own personal definition for it. Without sadness, however, happiness wouldnt exist. If everyone were always happy the value that happiness holds wouldnt exist.


Work Cited

Kingwell, Mark. The Pursuit of Happiness." Writing and Reading across the Curriculum 413-15. Senior, Jennifer. "Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness." Writing and Reading across the Curriculum 422-30.