Psychology of Happiness and a Life Well-Lived Essay

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Mythology - Religion
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #21657088

Excerpt from Essay :

Psychology of Happiness and a Life Well-Lived

In this paper, I have discussed that happiness as well as morality (meaningful purpose) are actually the ultimate goals and the true sign of a life well-lived. I have tried to explain how morality must be considered as the most important factor to signify a well-lived life. I have also given the ideas of Aristotle and Plato regarding morality and happiness and have tried to assess the literature on my chosen factor.

If we ask people to elaborate the definition of a well-lived life, we would surely get very different answers. For some, money will be considered as the means to be happy and successful; others may count recognition of peers as the basis of a well-lived life. A well-designed and useful product will be the success for some; for others it can be a beautiful garden. Good relationships would be a mode of measuring success for a number of people. Other would say peace of mind or their contributions for saving the planet from disasters as the definition of being happy and living a contented life. However, for most of the people, it would definitely be a combination of elements.

To successfully direct the life force, one needs to clarify and express his/her personal definition of a well-lived life. he/she needs to look at his/her values and based on those findings, he/she has to decide what he/she really wants to be able to live a life that is well. An individual needs to find out what is important to him/her and to eliminate the things and elements that have nothing to do with the things that are of most importance to him/her. Everyone needs to formalize the things in such an order which are important to them (Veenhoven, 2005).

Happiness is an essential element of human health and well-being. Therefore, people generally give importance to happiness at most. It is an assumption that the more one values happiness, the happier one will get (Veenhoven, 2005). Valuing happiness leads to very positive outcomes. According to models of goal pursuit, the element which is given more value by people determines what they want to achieve in life, which in turn, may lead them to work towards getting that goal. This can be illustrated with an example: A student who values academic excellence will definitely want to get higher grades and will definitely study harder to get there. Valuing academic excellence will result in getting better grades. Applying this logic to a person who values happiness at the most, this should result in greater happiness. Well-being's key ingredient is happiness.

It is thus sensible to expect that valuing happiness will have beneficial outcomes in return. There is an argument that this might not be the case. Instead, valuing happiness could cause self defeat, because giving more value to happiness is more likely to disappoint people more. This may lead to less happy people just when happiness is within the reach of the people (Spini, 2002). Happiness can be achieved by pursuing goals which are based on the values which leads the individual to do extremely well. It is obvious that one should strive for something greater. This idea is one of the most challenging ideas: Happiness does not lie in the individual or in possessions of materialistic nature but only in the pursuit of goals (Spini, 2002).

It is revealed through research that the resources and characteristics valued by the society are correlated with the happiness. For example, a good income, marriage, good mental health, and a long life all associate with reports of the higher levels of happiness. These associations between the desirable outcomes of life and happiness have led most investigators to assume that success is the thing that can and that really make people happy (Lyubomirsky, King & Diener, 2005).

A good life, as far as my opinion is concerned, is one which has all the ingredients including happiness, a meaning purpose and economic stability. However, the quality of life can be determined by the importance of happiness in it. I believe that "living happily ever after" is not just a phrase that is used in movies but it actually means living a "happily ever after" life in real life as well. According to the argument put forwarded by Aristotle, goals in life are valued on the basis of their significance simply to the degree that they connect to happiness in the end. In the research related to Subjective Well-Being i.e. SWB, the good life is equivalent to extent of happiness. It has been approved time and again that it is a common desire among the human beings to seek and find happiness as a major life goal.

It is a crystal-clear fact that everyone yearns for happiness and wants to live a life filled with it. For me, happiness is by every mean is the ultimate goal and the true sign of a life well-lived and this happiness is achieved when there is a meaning in life. Thus, a meaningful life makes a person happy by all means and can truly be considered as a marker of a well-lived life (Veenhoven, 2005). There are a number of definitions of happiness. For some people, happiness is connected with having all the goods necessary for living a quality life. For others, happiness is a consequence of being a good human being and having a high moral character that gives a sense of fulfillment. I think that a happy life is one that reflects God's will. Meaning in life i.e. morality gives a person the ability to determine the good and bad and this clear conscience makes it easier for an individual to live a well-lived life full of satisfaction derived from happiness. To cut a long story short, I think that morality is the main factor that makes it possible for a human being to live a well-lived life with a meaningful purpose (Veenhoven, 2005).

When we talk about meaningful life, it usually includes a determined wish to achieve something or a sense of cohesive intention. A good and well-lived life is one that is characterized by meaningful prospects and meaningful actions. It is a fact that a majority of people who seek happiness try to find it by having a sense of meaning. Most of the human beings strive really hard to find a genuine purpose in life as a common goal. It is exceedingly necessary to mention here that an individual may have bad and painful experiences but may still hold on to a strong determination and decisiveness about a unified purpose. As far as moral goodness in Aristotle's view is concerned, he holds the opinion that one's life must be devoted to acquire a meaningful purpose especially one by which others get benefitted on an unconditional basis.

An investigation concerning morality requires the search for the foundation of moral obligation. The relationship between reason and revelation holds significant importance in this regard. People who have no belief in the certainty of God's presence hold the opinion that morality is derived from some source of natural law. However, those who believe that there is a Being they are answerable to, does not limit His supremacy and influence by placing morality in the sphere of natural reason (Burns, 2008). Whatever has been consummated over the centuries is never accomplished without the concept of religion (both as an agreement or opposition). Even scientific developments needed and require religion. Therefore, seeing morality without religion is impossible in every sense (Veenhoven, 2005).

Unfortunately, almost all of the evils and troubles prevalent in society are the consequence of a morality "collapse." The major reason behind this collapse is the rejection of the idea that there is a God. Jean-Paul Sartre, an existentialist, stated that "If God is dead, everything is permitted" (Schick Jr., 1997). I truly believe that this is the case. If there is no belief in a deity who has laid down for us the foundations of moral law, every individual will feel independent and self-regulating to do whatever pleases him or her. Therefore, I strongly believe in the notion that there can be no complete moral law without a divine lawgiver.

God is the only possible resource of introducing and providing moral standards to the universe. It is not at all possible to keep out God when morality is practiced. The removal of vices and proper functioning of society requires the universal moral standards that have been endowed by God (Schick Jr., 1997).

Our origin and source of belief is the sole reason of our understanding of right and wrong. It doesn't matter at all how an individual carries out a moral obligation. What matters is the originality of belief behind it. All morality is dependent on God. This fact has to be understood by us as His servants and followers. Human beings have created and built innumerable institutions to make their fellow beings selfless, noble and altruistic. This could be considered as…

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