“If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation.” ~ Anais Nin
My late grandmother once told me that happiness is a journey that cannot be contained or explained.
Rather, she said it is a feeling you experience when you often don’t even realize it—because it happens when you are lost in the experience of living itself.
That is when the effortlessness of true joy is often discovered in purest of forms.
I often watched her while she was refurbishing antique clothes and centuries-old French dolls and humming away, or when she was tending to her large cabbage roses that were the colors of a child’s wildest of imaginations—in the kind of images you never thought you could possibly visit or understand.
She taught me that to be happy was not a goal but a process and an adventure, and not to sought after happiness too deeply or the desperate pursuit of happiness would be the very thing that would kill it.
As a young child, I did not quite understand what she meant. But being the daughter and granddaughter of artists, I already had a vibrant upbringing; I would often spend long days watching adults losing themselves in their artistic creations, completely oblivious to anything else around them.
And this I realized was how happiness was achieved . . . not by searching for any specific or ultimate goal that was even tangible or describable, but through a process of meditative creativity that could only be felt with the allowance of vulnerability as a guide.
While researching happiness and peace for a book I am writing, I came upon some quotes that I believe also captures what happiness truly means, and I hope these will help you to understand and experience happiness as deeply as I have.
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” ~ Albert Camus
“Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.” ~ Storm Jameson
“Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!” ~ Friedrich Nietzche
“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
“I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” ~ Martha Washington
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the reward we get for living to the highest right we know.” ~ Richard Bach
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~ Buddha
“Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.” ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
“Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.” ~ George Orwell
“Happiness is an inside job.”~ William Arthur Ward
“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” ~ Marcel Pagnol
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ~ Albert Einstein
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~ Dale Carnegie
“You just have to do your own thing, no matter what anyone says. It’s your life.” ~ Ethan Embry
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” ~ Robert Muller
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” ~ Oscar Wilde
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” ~ George Sand
“To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.” ~ Helen Rowland
“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” ~ Betrand Russel
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” ~ Albert Ellis
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” ~ Agnes Repplier
“Laughter is not only amusement, entertainment or fun. It is an expression of inner happiness which comes only when we understand the deeper meaning of life.” ~ Madan Kataria
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved—loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” ~ Victor Hugo
“Avoid greatness; in a cottage there may be more real happiness thank kings or their favorites can enjoy.” ~ Horace
“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” ~ Freya Stark
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” ~ Groucho Marx
“He who depends on himself will attain the greatest happiness.” ~ Chinese proverb
“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” ~ Alice Walker
“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
“Happiness is a mystery like religion, and it should never be rationalized.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” ~ Carlos Castaneda
“The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.” ~ Carl Sandburg
“Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like its heaven on earth.” ~ Mark Twain
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Each moment of a happy lover’s hour is worth an age of dull and common life.” ~ Aphra Behn
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Images: Wikipedia Commons