What Does it Mean to Be Happy?
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“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?” -From the movie The Pursuit of Happyness
“Happiness” is something that can feel unattainable, or something you’ll feel you’ll never have. As we go on in our lives and pursue the things that are most valuable, do we find them happy or inspirational, or just something to get us by in life? Where does happiness start or begin? As a kid, is it the cartoons that bring us happiness? Or the lovely snack we can’t have from time to time? Or, as an adul,t our children that we love so much.
In the dictionary “happiness” is considered a feeling, not something we can obtain. In our United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.” Why was it changed to “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” Jefferson was telling us that happiness can always bring strength in people in many ways and can be found at the darkest places at the darkest times.
As a child growing up with no father or mother, happiness can feel hopeless; they can grow up and have no feeling or attention towards happiness. Growing up, I only had my mother–my dad never paid any attention to being in my life. My mother did her best by pleasing me and my brother and sister in many ways, and her success as a single parent brought happiness to all my family.
My grandmother always told me that “Being happy in life isn’t about how much you got, but the little things that brought you to be happy in life.” When she died, these words stayed with me. They always come into my head when sad times come in my life, and her words inspire me to obtain happiness with my mom, sister, and brothers.