The Definition of Happiness – Feeling content with what you have

“You never really know for sure whether you are happy. It all comes down to your own meaning of happiness. What is happiness? Everyone has a different definition of happiness. But as for myself I think I have never been happier than now. Actually since I started studying and since I can make my own decisions in life, I feel happy.”

Meet Eline, a 23 year old Dutch student who lives in Surinam at the moment for an internship. I met Eline during my trip to Surinam last august and talked to her about happiness, and her way of achieving happiness in life. During the interview I asked Eline if she feels happy at this moment. She replied that she does feel happy. But throughout the interview, while reflecting upon the topic, doubts about her happiness came up as well.

Freedom to make your own decisionsEline and her definition of happiness

To Eline, happiness is waking up in the morning with the thought of having a whole day to do whatever she wants. She doesn’t like things to be planned and prefers to have some freedom to make her own planning. In highschool Eline felt pretty unhappy because everything she had to do felt like an obligation. Other people were telling her what to do and for a couple of years this made her feel pretty unhappy.  When Eline finished highschool she decided to take a break.

“I started working and was busier than ever, but it was my own choice to be busy. The freedom that I experienced made me happy, and still makes me happy. One of the big decisions I made when I realized I had this freedom was to start traveling. I wanted to see more of the world and get out of my comfort zone, meet new people, discover new cultures and food.”

Happiness is feeling content with what I have in this present moment

“Sometimes, unfortunately, I notice that I feel quite unsatisfied because I always look forward to new possibilities and options. I tend to look at things other people have and I don’t. Then I think to myself: I would feel even happier when I can feel content with what I have in this present moment and feel grateful for that. Sometimes I forget to do so but when I’m in a place where there is no rush I can reflect and ask myself why I am rushing and looking forward and why I don’t just enjoy the present moment a little more. To me, happiness is the moment that I can fully realize I can and should enjoy the present moment without looking forward too much. Right now, I’m not there yet. ”

By: Fleur Terpstra