Perhaps we can say, "It gives us pleasure to make others happy."
I disagree that if I dislike or hate someone, then it would make me unhappy if I do something to increase the well-being of that scumbag piece of shit, that mangy, cannibalistic rat in human form.
No matter how much I can't stand the sight of someone, I will still wish them well as long as I've had my - what? as long as they know what's what - and as long as they stay the hell out of my life.
"If you want to be happy, be". Though helping other people may make it easier for a person to feel happy, it is ultimately YOU who controls your emotions. If you are determined to be miserable you will be, regardless of how many starving orphans you feed etc. The same logic goes to happiness. If you allow perceived negative & postitive events to control your emotions you lose control over your life in general. Being happy is as simple as waking up and saying, "I'm going to be happy, because life's too short and precious to be miserable for any length of time for any reason"
I think it depends how damaged you are. Lots of people have fresh open wounds in their subconscious, in the form of negative beliefs, and these negative beliefs prevent those people from being happy. Because they are in the subconscious, they are hard to argue against. The only thing that the beliefs will listen to is physical proof to the contrary, of some kind. Words and logic aren't enough. Jung was right when he said that they are like organic beings with a will of their own.
As a graduate with a degree in psychology, I do think the subconscious argument is possible, and can definitely hinder a person's pursuit of happiness, but at the end of the day its still an excuse to not try harder.
As a person that came from a terrible background, complete with all the aforementioned "fresh open wounds in the subconscious", I can attest to the power that the past has in the present, which IS very difficult to overcome. Difficult, but not impossible. When we give creedence to the idea that it is "impossible" to be happy due to "wounds in the subconscious", we essentially give up trying.
When I rejected the idea of a God and that "everything happens for a reason", I could stop trying to make sense of, and therefore stop making excuses for bad events, and just categorize them as things that had happened to me. This revelation enabled me to push past my preconceived notions of what could or could not make me happy.
This entire argument is obviously irrelevant in the case of mental illness, but in summary I think everyone would be happier if they were an atheist (haha)
It seems that you're saying self-control and strength are necessary to keep negative impulses and thoughts at bay. I fully agree with this idea. But what if the damage is crippling? Someone with crippled legs is unable to walk, however, the brain can grow back where legs cannot. [metaphor-stretching day.]
I like the idea that you have defined happiness for yourself. I think we would all benefit if we defined our own needs and realised that it's not a crime to need something, or feel something.
I believe that a figure like Jesus can probably save many people in states of permanent distress, in the right hands.
Every person has some degree of control over their emotions but circumstances can make it anywhere from hard to nearly impossible to control emotions. I don't know about you but I've had times in my life where no matter how hard I tried to be happy there was an overriding negative emotion that needed to run it's course and/or be dealt with head on. Being happy isn't as simple as just deciding to be happy, a lot of factors play into ones overall levels of happiness.
Sometimes people's moods can be affected by the weather. I know I am less likely to be happy when the weather has been dull, gray and rainy for a long period of time. Some people are so affected by this that they can actually be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder.
Studies have been done showing that certain societies (the Danish for example) are on average happier than others. This is typically due to things such as economic security, educational opportunity, laws that help prevent people from being overworked, social safety nets when things go wrong, high standards of health care, clean environments, environments that make it simple for people to get out and move around (bike path's, walker friendly, good public transit) and so on.
Also, it's pretty commonly reported in studies that the religious are happier than those without religion. Why? Well because religion often provides a sense of belonging, community, and friendships. ( These things aren't limited to religion of course.)
It's not all about just deciding to be happy, your circumstances in life are a major contributor to your overall happiness.
"Also, it's pretty commonly reported in studies that the religious are happier than those without religion. Why? Well because religion often provides a sense of belonging, community, and friendships."
I'm sure that's true, but as well, if I'd been saved by Jesus, I would be pretty damned happy. (non-religious swearing rules apply.)
It's not that life's too short, it's just that death is so damned long.
As the Beatles once said "ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE"
(It sounds hippyish but its true)
Hippies are right about everything, apart from The Grateful Dead.
I think this is linked to the idea that we can only afford to be friendly from a position of strength. This is because trust involves vulnerability, and so we have to be strong if we are to trust.
Usual bs altruism babble.