slippery slopes are not reserved for negativity
the best ways to organize your living space (and your life)

the difference between happy and not unhappy

 

 

"Happiness is the feeling you're feeling when you want to keep feeling it."

Unknown

 


Reading the title of the post, you might be asking yourself, "What's different about happiness and not unhappiness?" When I came across the idea of being "not unhappy" (mentioned briefly in the book The Opposite of Love, which was phenomenal by the way), I was a bit befuddled myself, but the words just jumped out at me and I instantly wondered, "What is the difference between 'being happy' and 'being not unhappy'? Aren't they the same?"

 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how not the same they really were. Being happy is the state when you contain happiness within yourself, when you choose to be at one with the positivity in your life and in the world. Being not unhappy is the state where you're not necessarily unhappy, but you're not necessarily happy either. You're in limbo. And, oddly enough, I think more people are really referring to this state -- this "not unhappiness" -- when they use the word "happy" (especially when they've been asked the generic "Are you happy?" question). To me, happiness is a proactive thing, something you actively and purposefully choose, not an absence of something (such as not possessing unhappiness).

 

When I think about happiness, I think of it as something we choose to pick up, like a ripe, delicious apple resting in one of those perfect little rows in the grocery store. We can walk right by the apples, ignoring them, or we can pick one (or many!) up and put them in our carts. Likewise, I think you can choose to pick up unhappiness, like, for example, when you choose to pick up a highly unhealthy box of donuts. Unhappiness is an indulgence, something you don't need but sometimes may want anyway. When you're pushing your cart through the aisles, you can pick up the apples -- the healthy option -- or you can pick up the donuts. It's completely up to you. And, let's be honest, we sometimes pick up both, adding happiness and unhappiness to our carts depending on the day or situation or mood we're in. [Note: I realized after writing this that donuts probably weren't the best symbol for unhappiness, considering I love donuts, but let's just go with it for now. But, really, I do like unhappiness sometimes too (much as I hate to admit that). Like donuts, unhappiness is like a rare, somewhat forbidden treat that I try to stay away from but sometimes find myself indulging in no matter how hard I try to steer my cart down a different aisle...]

When I think of being "not unhappy," I think of it as just being, sort of in a neutral state, as if you were just you without having picked up those apples or that box of donuts. I guess, in a way, if you say that you are "not unhappy," you're walking around with an empty cart. While I suppose it's better than walking around with a cart filled with donuts, it's certainly not the ideal situation. Or, at least, I think most of us wouldn't want to be walking around with empty carts. In fact, when I think about empty carts, when I think of people who, when asked if they are happy, reply with, "Well, I'm not unhappy...," it actually feels like I'm filling my own cart with donuts, with unhappiness. It actually makes me unhappy to think of all of the people walking around with empty carts, or, rather, settling for empty carts.  

But we don't have to settle for empty carts. We can choose to fill them up, load them to the brim with apples. What I really want you to think about (and what I'm thinking about right now) is: what's in your cart? And, more importantly, is there anything in your cart? Think about it: Are you "happy"? Or just "not unhappy"? I can say with certainty that I've spent a lot of my life being "not unhappy." In fact, I've found myself doing a lot of this lately. I'll be honest...It's not terrible. It's certainly not a terrible way to live, but if you're living your life as a "not unhappy" person, you are really living a life filled less than you deserve. You deserve a cart filled with apples (and maybe even some donuts too). You deserve to have a full, overflowing cart.

You deserve -- we all deserve -- to be happy. Happiness is out there, stacked up high in rows just waiting to be taken, but it's up to YOU to pick it up and put it in your cart. If you don't, if you don't choose happiness, you'll end up being the person who responds to "Are you happy?" with the depressing phrase, "Well, I'm not unhappy..." And, seriously, is that who you want to be? I know that I want more for myself. I want happiness and I want you to have it too. Lately it hasn't been the easiest thing for me to pick up. Driving to the grocery store and steering my cart towards the produce seems harder than it should be these days (both literally and figuratively), but I know what I want: I want apples in my cart. I want my cart to be overflowing with apples, with happiness. But I also know that more often than not the apples aren't going to fall from the sky. I'm going to have to seek 'em out, pick 'em up, and put 'em in my cart. [Another Note: As I'm writing, I'm realizing what an Adam-and-Eve tone this example seems to have with the apple as such an important symbol in the analogy I'm making here. It's an odd to think about it this way, with me encouraging readers to go after the apples, to seek them out... Happiness as sin... hmm... interesting.]

Today I'm going to remind myself of how much control I have over what I put in my own cart. Just like when I'm walking through the grocery store, I can choose what I want to buy. Today I am asking myself, "What do I want to put in my cart?" I realize that donuts might be tempting these days, but today I'm pretty sure I'm going to fill my shopping cart with happiness.

Comments

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I wish I can contain happiness for the rest of my life. But outside forces always robs it from me. Fortunately, you are right, I have the choice of putting happiness into my cart, with a little bit of donuts if you don't mind. :-)

I met up with a friend yesterday who is not happy with her current situation...but not unhappy either - I think I'll email her this post :) I think you hit the nail on the head - it's about choosing what we put in the cart. The supermarket (aka Life!) is filled with heaps of choices, and it's up to us what we put in the cart, take home and consume. Here's to filling our carts with happiness :) xx

Very interesting post. I'm reminded how often I ask someone 'How are you?' and get the reply 'I'm ok.' or 'Can't complain.' I wonder if these are often substitutes for 'not unhappy'.

This is another wonderful post, Dani. I think you really hit the nail on the head, as usual. Indeed there really are a lot of people who exist in that limbo you describe, neither happy nor unhappy. And that's just sad, because they're really missing out on life. Life is both the good and the bad (err apples and donuts) and to live without either of them isn't really living at all. It's existing.

Another thing that I thought was interesting was in your last lines, where you compared happiness with sin. I think a lot of people DO equate happiness with sin, and that's why they never pursue it. It's a guilt trip that they have fallen for; the thought that anything that might be pleasurable just HAS to be bad for you in some way. Believing that, they try to avoid happiness, and prefer the "existence" of being "not unhappy".

Nice post Dani. It's an interesting contrast between happiness and not unhappy. The limbo state is not exactly one which we don't really get much out of. I myself have have been in limbo as well at times, and I know exactly what you mean. You don't really progress forward when you are in limbo.

Dani,
you've reminded me of the concept that people either live in ways that move toward (good) or away from (fear). as i read your post i was reminded that i want to pay closer attention to what i put in my cart (aka - moving toward good).
THANKS for the gentle nudge.

Dani, this is a fantastic analogy! I think that in the past, I was unhappy and sometimes not unhappy. These days I fluctuate between happy and not unhappy. Not unhappy is certainly better than unhappy, but I do want the very best for myself - a cart loaded with apples. I think the apple as a symbol for sin and in your analogy happiness, could be the idea that many people feel happiness is a sin - as Jay said.

Walter - There's no way to ALWAYS be happy, but we can choose to look for it (and put it in our carts) as often as we can. We all have some donuts in there too, but that's okay. We need them too.

Green Ink - You should definitely email her the post. I think a lot of people think that it's okay to just live in a "not unhappy" state, but that's not the same as real happiness. Your friend deserves happiness!

Ian - Great point. How often do we respond to that question with "I'm okay"? To me, "okay" is the same as "not unhappy," which is fine sometimes but it's certainly not the same as true happiness.

Jay - There are definitely a LOT of people who are "not unhappy" but who aren't really happy either and it absolutely is sad because it's not really living a happy life if you're just not unhappy. I agree that a lot of people do think of happiness as sinful, as something they shouldn't have a lot of in their lives. You've made the great point in your comment about how, when people view happiness as sinful (which many people do), they avoid it and settle for being not unhappy.

Srinivas - I think a lot of people live their lives in that state of not unhappiness for various reasons and it's really unfortunate. Sadly, I think a lot of people think that limbo state is just fine, when really it's not a substitute for happiness.

Lisa - That's a good point! People are either moving towards something good or away from something bad. Like you, I want to move towards the good stuff, filling up my cart with happiness, instead of just avoiding the bad stuff.

Ia - Thank you! I was just like you in the past -- unhappy and not unhappy -- but I'm moving towards being happy and not unhappy. Being not unhappy is definitely better that completely unhappiness, but I plan on being more conscious of what I put in my cart and working more on filling it with happiness. I too agree that Jay brought up a great point about happiness and sin.

I love the cart visual. I think it's time for me to go shopping for some happiness. No more empty carts for me!

Lynn - Glad you like it! I'm with you -- ready to go fill my cart up with happiness!! :)

What a great post.
Happiness is just a state of ind we all want to feel.
We can all feel happiness. How? Think good thought!
Its all about feeling good. If you feel good then your in alignment with happiness.

I might copy some of your wonderful quotes and post them everywhere in my apartment because by golly, I always need reminders to be happy.

-meream

One perspective is the only difference between happiness and unhappiness is choice (or free will). You bring about your experience in the present. Energize the effects of the vibration you want and so it is.

Hey PP, this was a really clever and thought provoking post. I love how you've used the analogy of the shopping cart.

In my humble opinion, I believe we actually need to put donuts in our cart every now and again otherwise life would be kinda boring and more importantly, the donuts help us appreciate the apples even more. Having said that, I'm all about the apples! In the past, I think I've had an empty cart, not so much a cart filled with donuts (except through the divorce when I had a house full of donuts). I agree totally that happiness is a choice and something you can proactively go after.

Great post PP! Thanks.

I think it's a sliding scale and I like how you pointed out the limbo state. I've noticed that the people I know that drive from happiness, tend to make fun a part of their core. They choose it and they chase it, and they make it happen along the way.

Happiness is indeed a choice in the same way anger is a choice. You must find what makes you happy and keep adding it in your cart. What makes me happy is progress in the right direction. Seeing growth, improvement, and change - that's what makes me smile. But seeing stagnancy makes me "not unhappy". I just don't feel anything at that point.

Nice thoughts, Dani :)

Hey, Dani! Wonderful post (as usual). Just to play Devil's Advocate, I might add that the difference between the two terms becomes more negligible depending on how much real suffering you've had to deal with in life.

Once you have lived through a few major challenges, disappointments, or phases of hopelessness and despondency, "not unhappy" starts looking an awful lot like "happy". For someone who is depressed, any day without unhappiness counts as a happy day (a blissful day, in fact).

When I used to fly I'd hear the phrase, "Any landing you can walk away from counts as a good landing." Granted, it would be best to land the plane perfectly, with everything intact. But from a pilot's perspective, the possibility of crashing is so very real that the goal shifts from perfect to good enough.

I guess I'm saying, although there is a very real difference between happy and not unhappy, either one can be a great place to be. Does that make any sense? (Sorry for rambling!)

Jonathan - Great point. Thinking good thoughts attracts happiness to us and we should all do that if we want to have happiness around us. If you feel good, goodness with find you!

Meream - You should definitely do that. I'm moving later this week and I'm going to create a vision board/wall that has a lot of happiness quotes on it. You should do that too!

Liara - Very true. You have to choose to have a happy perspective and make your life happy if that's what you want it to be. As you noted, we bring about our own experiences.

Sami - Thank you! I'm glad you liked the post. I agree that we need both the apples and the donuts in our carts (and probably all other kinds of foods/emotions) to make life interesting. We just have to keep in mind that we can choose to add or remove things from our carts. It's up to us!

J.D. - I agree with you on the sliding scale idea. It's not black and white, happy or not. And I also agree that those who choose happiness and who go after it have a lot more of it in their lives. They attract it to themselves.

John - Happiness is absolutely a choice and you can add more of it to your life at any time. Like you, I find that improving my life makes me happy and staying in one place can really cause unhappiness.

Lisis - Thank you! I agree that individual situations can have a big impact on what we find in our carts, and that for some "not unhappy" is, in fact, a very blissful state. I like that quote about the plane. Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing, though it's always great to have a perfect landing too. What you wrote definitely makes sense and I think a lot of it really does have to do with what's happening to someone at a specific time/place in his/her life.

I really like this Dani. As Lisis said, compared to really and truly unhappy, not unhappy isn't a bad place to be at all. But actively being happy is so much better. And as you so eloquently pointed out, we all deserve that, but it is a matter of choice. Hard to believe if life is really tough and you haven't experienced the power of that choice. But the only way to make that leap is to decide you've got nothing to loose and make the choice. That's what I did, and it worked for me.

Dani, what a great post. Your quote under the main picture sums up your post perfectly. :) Happiness is all about perspective, what is happiness to one may not be happiness to another. But we all have our "not unhappy" moments, and those are the ones we need to cherish and savor.

Thanks again!

Dayne
http://www.TheHappySelf.com

Hi Dani! How about we call it JOY? That's the difference to me.

As far as Lisis goes, I don't agree. She's a real trouble maker on blogs today LOL! Yes LISIS YOU ARE A DEVIL :-)

To me not being unhappy is moving away from pain and avoiding pain. It's a negative instead of a positive.

You have the power within yourself to create JOY. Screw not being unhappy, I'm going for joy. Thanks!

Haha! SO Busted!! Stephen, you weren't supposed to tell on me! And, btw, Dani did a great job handling my double-edged sword.

Happy beats not unhappy by a LONG shot, for sure; but what fun is it if every single commenter agrees wholeheartedly with what you write? How will you know if they are even paying attention?!

Trouble-maker, indeed! Dani, don't listen to him; he knows not what he says. ;)

You have hit on a great subject! Yes there are degrees of happiness, not being unhappy is one of them. You are an excellent writer! Great article.

Interesting post and intriguing about that Adam and Eve reference that popped into your head!
Your writing reminds me of what my boyfriend says when I ask how something was. He'll say "Not bad." I always think, "Well, does that mean it was good?!"

I hope your cart overflows with apples - the best of the bunch!

haha i like the ending. "donuts might be tempting these days, but today I'm pretty sure I'm going to fill my shopping cart with happiness." it was good because i was expecting "apples."

&, the difference between being 'happy' & being 'not unhappy' reminds me of a line from e.e. cummings: "being undead isn't being alive"

the difference is really intuitive i think. we know when we are really feeling alive (or, happy)

p.s. - thank you for the tip on the royalty-free pictures. are there specific sites you recommend? i have just started a blog, so i am interested in this kind of thing. thanks again!

Hilda - I do think that being not unhappy is definitely better than being miserable, but it's still not something we should be content with. I agree that it can be really hard to realize that all we have to do is choose happiness when things are really bad, but it really is true that we can choose happiness -- no matter what.

Dayne - I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I agree, happiness IS all about perspective. Something that makes one person happy might not being happiness to others. We all will face "not unhappy" moments in life, but we should realize that those are not the same thing as happiness.

Stephen - Joy is a great thing to call it! Haha, at least Lisis made it clear that she was playing devil's advocate. As much as I agree that there are different levels of happiness and sometimes being "not unhappy" is actually the best we can get, I do think that happiness is a choice and it's something you have to work on so, no matter what the situation, you have to strive for it and you cannot just expect it to happen. I'm going for joy too!

Lisis - Haha, I tried my best! I definitely believe that happiness is much better than not unhappiness, but I also understand what it's like to be devestated to a point that not unhappiness is the best you can do at that time. That being said, I still work towards happiness (or joy, as Stephen said) every day. I loved your comment. Who wants everyone to agree with them all the time?!

Mark - Thank you, thank you! I really enjoyed writing this post so I'm happy you liked the content and my writing style.

Megan - I guess that's what years of Catholic school does...makes it hard to see an apple as just an apple. ;) I think a lot of people reply to things with the "not bad" response, which doesn't mean the same thing as "good" at all. Glad you brought that up! I hope your cart is filled with tons of apples too. :)

Steve - I'm glad you liked the ending! Thanks for mentioning the e.e. cummings line... I really like that one and it brings up that great point. We really DO know when we are happy and alive. It's such a different feeling than being "not unhappy," isn't it? As for pictures, you may want to check out the Photobucket site.

Great post. Now I'm thinking: How do we not pick up not being unhappy and how do we pick up happiness? We can't always choose happy situations, so happiness is a decision we make inside. It has to do with where we put our attention. Do we pay attention to distressing thoughts and feelings, or do we realize that gratitude and celebration are always possible? I find that if I am conscious, I can see how my mind sometimes chooses unhappiness. When I choose inner happiness, I am happy, or at least peaceful, no matter what situations arise. Not being unhappy is coasting - not really choosing life. I'll take apples any day!

Gail - Great comment! That's an important thing to think about. We have to choose happiness internally, no matter what's going on in our external world. Our minds might lean towards a specific emotion but we have the power to choose another emotion, hard as it might be at times. I'd also rather choose happiness rather than coast along being "not unhappy."

I now feel as if I'd like to have a real chocolate-dipped donut with my tea! But seriously, you are right: happiness is a choice! It is not easy sometimes to remember it, especially when we allow anger to lay siege. However, I enjoy constant reminders on how rich and happy we can all be, if we keep making the same wise choice!

Hi Dani.

It was good to read this. I take it like going for the big stuff instead of being glad some fear wasn't materialized. One is controllable while the other is like a waiting period before it diminishes. I agree with you on switching to the pro-active one. The quote at the beginning is a solid definition of happiness I hadn't come across before.

Interesting post. But, honestly, I am still in confusion with the being not unhappy part. I will have to read this post again (quite in hurry at this time). This is something new for me.]

Now, talking about being happy, you are right that we must admit that we are happy and we must choose happiness ourself and try to be happy if we want to be happy. If you feel you are happy (if course sometime it becomes difficult but still we can do), you will definitely happy. But, I think it is not good to check your happiness status all the time. Rather focusing on what we are doing and enjoying the moment and things we are doing help us to remain happy.

Anyway, have a nice day!

"Not being unhappy is coasting" ~ Gail. That is a perfect summation! I'm going to rob that phrase.... : )

Hi Dani,
i justed loved this post and was inspired by it to create 2 affirmart cards at my blog to carry this message forward.I have linked my post to this post for others to read it over here.
blessings
sema

Evelyn - Yum! I want one of those too now! As you said, it can be hard to choose happiness sometimes, but it really is up to us. It's important to remind ourselves of this constantly!

Armen - That's a good point. Focus on what you're doing instead of what you're afraid of. You can control having happiness and it's up to everyone to make that choice rather than to simply wait around fearing what might happen. I'm glad you liked the quote!

LB - I know what you mean. When I first read the words "not unhappy," I thought to myself, "What? What's the difference between that and happiness?" but after giving it a lot of thought I came up with this post. Great point about not checking our happiness status all the time. We need to live in the moment and be happy rather than constantly seeking happiness.

Hilda - Isn't that a great line? Thanks, Gail, for summing it up so nicely!

Sema - I'm SO glad you loved that post. It's wonderful to read that it inspired you to create something at your own blog. Thanks so much for linking to my site too. :)

Wow, great thoughts, Dani. I've always thought of happiness as a choice. And if we choose to be happy, life is so much better.

Happiness can be so elusive, but I am learning to find it in simple things.


Dani , I LOVEd this article it reminded me of an experience I had not to long ago ..
I had someone ask me one day .. Why are you ALWAYS so happy? in a quite irritated manner as if they were annoyed . It got me wondering about how people actually choose to be unhappy and not realize it at all ,yet all those around him or her perceive it so well and are too kind not to mention it or too occupied to care. I don't really recall how the conversation ended but I will tell you this that day I choose to fill my cart with shiny apples FOREVER no matter how hard it ever becomes !

Hi Dani,

I got so excited as I was reading this post! The reason is because you've done such a thorough job of showing that it is our choice to be happy. This statement says it perfectly "To me, happiness is a proactive thing, something you actively and purposefully choose, not an absence of something..." That is a great statement!

Wonderful job Dani, seriously, really good article. I hope it gets spread all over the internet!

Jewel - Than kyou! I agree that we have to choose to be happy and when we do life is so much better. Great point about looking for happiness in the simple things!

Latindoll - I think a lot of people actually do choose to be unhappy or "not unhappy" for various reasons (maybe they are scared of happiness or don't believe they deserve it), and those people often feel irritated by those that choose happiness. How do I know this? Because I used to be one of those people! Now that I'm choosing happiness I'm a lot better off and I'm going to continue to fill my cart with apples!

Keith - Thanks so much for your comment! It makes me happy to know that you liked the post and how I've illustrated happiness as a choice. I hope it gets spread all over the internet too! Feel free to share it! :)

Dani , I hope all the people who love your page will help keep you motivated and help add apples to your cart :)

Dani,

What you refer to as your shopping cart, I refer to as "my pitcher." I must pour into my pitcher of happiness on a daily basis because I share what's in my pitcher with others. I was tellng Tess the Bold the other day that I just it when "I'm sloshing over!"

Happiness is a CHOICE - and it's a choice we make every day. How are you going to fill your cart or your pitcher and with whom are you going to share your happiness with? Are you sharing happiness with others who are genuinely happy from within or are you sharing with emotional vampires who deplete your cart or your pitcher faster than you can fill it up?

Great job Dani!

Peggy

Dani,
I believe happiness is our true nature; it's innate, ever-present. We just need to tap into it. We've been conditioned however (societies and religions) to seek it outside of ourself as if it is something we lost (ie. The Garden of Eden story) So some of us have un-learning to do to tap into the happiness within....

A dear friend of mine, wrote a book a couple of years ago titled Happiness is an Inside Job. Have you read it? Tis wonderful.... Life is so much simpler when we embrace the notion that happiness is us....
Hugs!

I love this and I totally agree. I have the same type of ideals and I write about them as well. Spread the positivity. <3

www.mermaidinamanhole.com

Peggy - I love the idea of a pitcher too and the concept of sharing what's in your cart/pitcher with other people too. You've made a great point about considering who is taking out of your pitcher. It's important to ask some of the important questions you brought up in your comment. I'm glad you raised them!

Jan - I agree that happiness is there, within us, and we have to choose to access it. We definitely have been taught to seek it externally when it's something that we can never get outside of ourselves (no matter how hard we look!). Happiness is an Inside job sounds like a great book. I'm going to have to check it out for sure!

Kim - Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I'm looking forward to checking out your site.

Hi Dani - When I think of "not unhappy" I think of those times when you don't feel terrible, but you don't feel great either. "Not unhappy" is like an absence of negative emotions, but with no positive emotions either. And even though you don't feel awful, it's really not a good place to be. Interesting post.

Hey Dani, an interesting post on happiness. Totally agree with you especially on the "limbo" part. Many a times we are just not so sure of our emotions. And this is where mixed feelings and dilemma come into the picture. Look forward to more posts from you. Maybe you can check out me and my partner's site as well. Cya.

Great thoughts. It actually had me smirk a little after reading "not unhappy" the first time. Don't know why. Guess I'm just easy to entertain in that way..

If you do look at the words, it does somewhat resemble a pessimistic view. It is as if you expect unhappiness to be the norm so you admit that this moment is against the norm of unhappiness.

One thing though, "not unhappy" could just merely represent a place of contentment. Am I happy right at this moment.. not so much, but I'm not unhappy either. I'm just good. I'm just me :)

I agree happiness boils down to choice. People who keep saying they can't be happy are just deferring their own ability to choose. That's what I observed through coaching my clients. Once they overcome their mental blocks and recognize it's a matter of choosing to feel happy, the whole perspective shifts.

Amanda - You've summed it up well. I feel the same way about "not unhappiness" -- it's the place between the emotions, when you're not feeling negative or positive. It's not terrible, but it's much better to be happy!

CuZee - You're right. Many times we're not sure of how we feel emotionally and sometimes we feel almost as if we are emotionless, not happy, not unhappy. I'll definitely check out your site! :)

Stephen - Interesting take on the concept of not unhappy, as if it is deviating from the "norm" of unhappiness. I never thought about it that way! I also didn't consider the concept of not unhappy as a state of contentment. For me, it's a little bit more neutral than that because I think of contentment as a happy thing (though it is different from something like joy which I also identify as happy). Thanks so much for your feedback!

Celes - Happiness is absolutely a choice! For so long I just thought I couldn't be happy and, no surprise, I wasn't happy. Why? Because I wasn't choosing it. Now that I'm choosing happiness in my life, my perspective (and life!) has changed SO much!

I loved this post- am going to post it on my facebook account. I choose happiness too and am definitely putting it into my cart. Thank you once again for the good vibrations. x

RML - Thanks so much for linking to the post on Facebook! Already I can see readers coming over from there. Awesome! :) You've made me happy (and put an apple in my cart!) but doing that. So glad you liked the post.

I like the choice to be happy. That is much better for me than being unhappy. Thanks for sharing this.

Syd - I completely agree. We have the option to be happy (even when it's not easy) and we should take advantage of that ability to choose. Being happy is a much better way to be!

Amazing article. Very very good! Seems like something I've been looking to read for a very long time!

Be Truly Happy - I'm so glad you liked it! :) It makes me happy to know that this is something that you found interesting.

I have to agree!
The absence of unhappiness-causing behaviour does not bring happiness.
Nor does the absence of happiness-causing behavior bring unhappiness.

In fact, as you pointed out, the two are unrelated.
People in relationships would do well to understand this, and to introduce happiness-causing behaviour rather than ceasing unhappiness-causing behaviour as a way to bring happiness to their partner.

I’d hate to be seen as sexist, but I think many men think along these lines (of the two being related!).

If your response to the question: "Are You Happy?" is "Sure", I would say that generally you are "not unhappy".

Ireena - I love what you brought up about increasing happy behavior instead of decreasing unhappy behavior... I've never thought about it that way before but I think that's a great idea!

Birdie - I don't think that's the case for everyone. When some are asked "Are you happy?" the reply isn't always "yes" or "no." Sometimes it is more complex than than and that's where I think the idea of "not unhappy" lies... It's sort of a limbo between happiness and unhappiness.

I think that in the past, I was unhappy and sometimes not unhappy. These days I fluctuate between happy and not unhappy. Not unhappy is certainly better than unhappy, but I do want the very best for myself - a cart loaded with apples.

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