Forget The ‘Happiness Hype’ — Build Your Own Version Of Happiness, Instead

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smiling pink-haired woman

What does creating happiness in your life entail?

If you Google the word "happiness," you may be distracted by some of the 668 million results. A similar mountain of material is the 23,000 often worthwhile books that have "happiness" in their titles.

More specific definitions and derivations are less overwhelming and they provide bridges from the hype of happiness to your own possibilities.

From the Old Norse word "happ," happiness means "luck" or "chance."

Closer to our time, the Old English evolved to mean "success and contentment."

As you’ve probably experienced, neither aspect remains static given the push and pull of "happiness hype" and experiences today.

RELATED: How To Master The Art Of Being Happy In 15 Steps (Or Less!)

Creating happiness in your life starts with you.

You can continue to activate your own dynamic opportunities with the meanings you give happiness.

In this way, you avoid being trapped in a web of happiness hype and possibly chasing after something or someone that disappoints, disappears, or loses original appeal from routine exposure.

Over time, you’ve probably learned which things, situations, and even people can bring sustainable happiness, dim over time, or are replaced with something new that shifts.

Happiness can also move along a spectrum from "Is this all there is?" to "Wow!"

When you're creating happiness in your life, you need to be alert in order to avoid a web of transitory happiness, including:

Things that lose their luster or don't age well
Social situations and connections that don't retain appeal, interest, or improvement with investment
Experiences that just dwell in "show and tell" categories or call for a commitment

Understanding what makes you happy.

Such dynamic examples are good reasons to know what makes you happy.

To investigate, start within yourself where you have the power of choice. Attend to your values and interests, as well as your consistent hopes and dreams as a foundation.

That's more likely to remain firm rather than shift with many externals in your life.

Perhaps, surprisingly, one avenue to explore within yourself is embedded in the history of the Declaration of Independence.

According to former Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the framers of the Declaration thought "happiness meant that feeling of self-worth and dignity you acquire by contributing to your community and to its civic life."

Though this meaning is not typically used today, it still suggests a depth and strength of commitment that gives structure and longevity to happiness.

Examples range from assisting a neighbor to organizing worthwhile programs and processes that promise substantial progress and satisfaction for yourself and others.

RELATED: 6 Small Changes You Can Make To Bring Happiness Back Into Your Life

Building your foundation for happiness.

Of all sources, I’m going to steal a little from utilitarian philosophy for criteria to help you continue to determine strategies for happiness.

That includes what, where, and how you’d like to invest time, energy, and skills ─ as well as passion and spirit.

How intense and how long is the pleasure you imagine you’d get?

How certain and replicable is the pleasure?

What value and meaning does it hold for you?

How do you identify your opportunities for happiness? One way to flourish is to embrace eudaimonia, the journey to self-discovery and developing your best talents.

As a process of becoming, don’t expect neat and quick results. Still, there are plenty of pleasing ways to keep strengthening your foundation for happiness.

Consider other people’s choices that create happiness or miss the mark. Observe and have conversations about their journeys.

Relive your own memories of happiness and how it evolved. Be sure to appreciate the periods you experience now, as well.

Be present with people who are authentic, open, and willing to share their healthy experiences.

Don't expect happiness to be a constant state.

As you’ve already seen, being happy is unlikely to stay constant, nor does it require chirpy perkiness.

That can devolve into the distortions of toxic positivity, which values a positive or happy outlook no matter how ordinary or dire the situation.

To continue, enjoy and make your journey to happiness productive. Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and what you truly want in life.

For your overview of the future of happiness and actions to consider, I suggest this article published by the Wall Street Journal.

Stay committed to your happiness.

As you take manageable steps in that direction, you will open the doors to your own happiness and possibly inspire others in the process.

Then, you’ll all escape the hype and superficiality of transitory pleasures that can be fun or enjoyable, but only go so far and last so long.

Especially during difficult times or situations, your commitment to your own progress often supports sustaining your happiness.

RELATED: 7 Simple Steps You Can Take To Prioritize Happiness In Life (& Become A Happier Person Naturally)

Ruth Schimel Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon.  She guides clients in accessing their strengths and making visions for current and future work viable.  Obtain the bonus first chapter of her upcoming seventh book, Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future and benefit from your invitation to a free consultation on her website.