Three Types of Happiness Essay

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“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” -- Denis Waitley

Many people believe that happiness is simply a state of well being; to me, happiness is much more complex. Absolute happiness is anything that brings feelings of pure bliss to an individual’s life. One can gain happiness from simple pleasures of life, such as receiving a kiss from a three-year old, to advanced pleasures, such as a happy marriage or a successful career. Dr. Seligman, a well known psychologist and proponent of positive psychology, identified three types of happiness: pleasant life, engaged life, and meaningful life. Although Dr. Seligman states that the ultimate forms of happiness are “meaningful life” and “engaged life”, I believe that “pleasant life” happiness is just as important.

One type of happiness is known as “engaged life”. “Engaged life” happiness involves exploring and harnessing one’s strengths and talents to the benefit of himself and society. I experience “engaged life” happiness when I play my piano. As soon as touch the smooth, ivory keys, I feel an intense surge of joy, and all my surroundings seem to be just a blur; the music soon takes over me, and I am lost in a world of Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. When I am at my piano, all my cares and doubts seem to disappear, and my life seems, at that solitary moment in time, to make perfect sense. Music is my life and my soul.

Another type of happiness is “meaningful life”. “Meaningful life” happiness, according to Seligman, is the most genuine form of happiness. It is the epitome of life; the point where one feels completely and utterly satisfied with the life one is living and proud of whom they are at the present moment. As prepare to turn nineteen this summer and look back on the previous eighteen years of my life, I am proud of not only the accomplishments I have made over the years, but also of thankful of the hardships I had to endure on the road to becoming an adult. Right now, I feel as if I have learned a great deal from the obstacles I had faced, and I have matured more and more by the lessons I have gained from them. Having found which path I am to take in my future life, I am perfectly content with my situation in life at this instance, and nothing could make me happier.

According to Seligman, the final form of happiness, “pleasant life” happiness, is considered a short cut to happiness, and not as significant as “engaged life” or “meaningful life” happiness. “Pleasant life” happiness is defined as simplistic events that bring pleasure to oneself. Contrary to Seligman’s belief, it is my notion that “pleasant life” happiness is equivalent to both “engaged life” and “meaningful life” happiness. For example,...

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