When I was a child, I used to ask my mum: "What is happiness?" My mother always told me: "You will find out some day." When I gave a lollipop to a six year old girl, her satisfied smile told me that this was happiness. We supported my friend through a difficult time for her, and she was happy. It will be right to say that happiness is a feeling found deep inside in our heart. Happiness is not a result, but the way to result. People always seek for something global to be happy about, instead of looking for something positive in every day and enjoying the little things. Successful interpersonal relationships such as parental love, mutual trust, and the stable marriage pave the path to one’s inner harmony and personal happiness.
In paper "What Makes Us Happy?" writers Andrew Cohen, Conor Friedersdorf, Jordan Weissmann, Robinson Meyer point out that "The atmosphere of the home is one of happiness and harmony." (Cohen et al) They introduce an 80-year research in order to find out what makes people happy. There are four cases which record different people's life, experiences and their feelings and perceptions of happiness. From the described cases, Dr. Vaillant identifies seven major factors that make people happy. They are education, stable marriage, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, some exercise, healthy weight and employing mature adaptation. I agree with their viewpoint that a stable family which is full of parental love is the key of happiness, because that parents become the first people to show the examples of behavior to their kid, and therefore influence their children’s behavior patterns. If children grow in a friendly environment and warm family atmosphere, they will have a positive attitude and overcome different difficulties and problems with ease. Parental love grants the feeling of safety and protection; so the children have more confidence when breaking through some life barriers and struggles. Broken, unstable families make children feel like drifting boats in the sea. They are often lost, confused, scared and self-conscious. Thus, the love from the parents plays a very important role in children's life and their attitude towards happiness. However, from my point of view, parental love is one of the types of happiness which is most easily overlooked and often underestimated. Parental love seems to be so usual and mundane, that people lose sight of it. When mother cooks breakfast every morning, we might never feel touched. When father pays our tuition fee so we could study, we might take it for granted. We spend time with our friends and our parents rush home to make comfortable for us to come back to. When we go to bed, our parents still do things around the house. Parents sacrifice their free time and energy for these routine activities for our sake, but do we give up anything in return? Parents exhaust themselves in order to provide a more comfortable life and better education for us, but many of us do not thank them enough. Sometimes we think that parents are annoying, nosy and not trustworthy, and refuse to share some stories or secrets with them. People always get most delightful and happy from getting the things which are difficult to gain; they invariably neglect their surrounding which already make them have extraordinary lives.
Our everyday communication circle has always included our family, friends, and many strangers, whom we are yet to get to know. No one can tell when was the turning point of the humans being reluctant and cold-hearted towards other people by default. At this time, our lives are mournful. David Brooks argues in his "The Sandra Bullock Trade" that "Levels of social trust vary enormously, but countries with high social trust have happier people, better health, more efficient government, more economic growth, and less fear of crime." In his article, David gives an example of a famous star, which had to make a choice between professional success and fame, and stable interpersonal relationships. She then decided that interpersonal relationships made her happier. The author agrees with this decision. Since the social division of labor is getting smaller, people are getting closer and social trust is becoming a fundamental and crucial factor for mutually beneficial collaboration. Trust means believing in others’ kindness and dignity from the bottom of the heart rather than entrusting them some material possessions. Trust is the main basis of friendship, marriage, and family. Having some suspicions, holding grudges against each other, gossiping behind someone’s back, not keeping given promises are the enemies of maintaining the interpersonal relationship enjoyable for both sides. If trusting friends and families is in the people's nature, trusting strangers is a virtue. If people trust themselves and believe in other people having their best interests in hearts, it will tie the people closer together and contribute to the society’s cooperation and harmony.
David Brooks points out that, “Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being.” (Brooks) David’s theory of true happiness coming from a stable marriage is extremely useful because marital happiness positively encourages people to break the ice and overcome their loneliness. The common denominators of the majority of happy marriages are caring, responsibility, respect and understanding. When people's marriages become better, their life is better in general as well. When people are determined to create and maintain a good personal life, other aspects of their life will also improve. Stable marriage is one of the factors that can bring you a ticket to happiness. Usually, we understand marriage as a sacrament, when two people decide to connect their lives, “We now know that the more that fun and friendship are a part of your lives together, the happier you will be in your marriage” (For Your Marriage). Being married involves many aspects that people try to deal with daily. However, these days a staggering percentage of births to young women occur outside marriage, which is quite sad. Regrettably, a number of those children are born in poverty, are neglected and they lead a hard life. This is a crisis situation, according to Catholics. It also means that attitudes about conventional marriage are changing in the world. Nevertheless, I accept as true the statement,”The child has the right to be brought up within marriage” (For Your Marriage). It is very important that a person receives love and support by his own mother and father from an early age onwards. Even more essential it is for adopted children, who often painfully search for their biological origins. By adopting, the parents substitute for the mother and father the child lost. To my mind, a good marriage means that a man and woman feel irreplaceable to each other. The same refers to their siblings. This healthy circle then is called the family. Through the eyes of the child, happiness is when mother and father are together. Indeed, the marital union makes a strong foundation for a family. It is a natural desire of humans in all ages to seek happiness, although, we know that being happy means not only receiving, but also giving. As soon as you realize it, you will start to transform for a better person in your family and society. If I want to help, but do not know how, then the golden rule is to bring happiness to another person. Likewise in marriage, to be content, make your spouse pleased, and eventually both of you will be happy.
What is happiness? I think that I have the answer right now. In fact, happiness is very common, it is constituted by little things in people’s lives. Compared with the professional success, interpersonal relationships bring long lasting happiness. It comes from the parental love, mutual trust, and stable marriage. People is always on the way to find their so called “happiness”, but if they stop finding, they will finger out that the reason why they cannot find happiness easily, just because they ignore the happiness around them.
For Your Marriage. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.