Is it the chicken or the egg? Working through a flowchart of personal happiness; deducing the cause and the result factors, I think I finally have it narrowed down to 6 interrelated causative factors that both give birth to happiness and yet simultaneously arise from the fountainhead of happiness. Of course, these are applicable to my life, perhaps not to yours; perhaps similar, but with unique descriptive terms.
HEALTH + SECURITY + RECREATION + CREATIVITY + SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT + SURROUNDINGS =
I have been given the gift of incisive clarity as a result of the trials of the last two years in my life. At least, I'm starting to admit those circumstances could perceived in the light of a gift, though–through the veil memory–they don't always feel as such. The pain, the anger, the fear, the job changes, the relocations, the health issues, the injuries; they have all been distilled into a crystal-clear knowing of exactly what I want and need in life, to do, to be, to have, to gain that sense contentment that has eluded me. (Click "read more")
I've known that I wanted satisfaction in these areas, but the specifics have crystallized into such pure form. Much of that is do to with experiencing the exact opposite; and I mean exactly what I do NOT want. Experiencing the polar opposite of contentment and happiness will do that for a person like myself.
Is contentment the absence of ease, or the absolute stripping away of all enjoyment?
Is happiness the absence of unhappiness, or the hole that is created when happiness ripped away?
In all this, I must question the premise.
In order to have health, one must feel secure. But one must have security to be healthy; if security is the lack of fear or stress. As in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, our very basic needs for food and shelter must be met before we can evolve upward and focus on something as frivolous as self-awareness. In the pursuit of recreation; i.e., hobbies, interests, leisure pursuits, passé-temps, I need good health for the endeavors, as well as enough money and time to to afford a passé-temps activity. For instance, I can't cycle with a torn meniscus, and I don't have the mental clarity to express myself creatively if I'm stressed about career and money. In that, creativity requires mental, spiritual, and possibly bodily health; and dependent upon the creative endeavor, money may be a prerequisite. Then there is social engagement: the desire for intimately with friends or a lover, entertaining social activities, or the self-possession to be content with solitude. Lastly, but certainly not of least importance, is my need for pleasing surroundings, or as the Danes call it: Hygge (pron.: hue'-guh). This environment includes safety; nature; access to the aforementioned sources of recreation, health, creative endeavors, security, and friends; a supportive social structure; and a caring community culture.
These six factors, I believe, are paramount to a gratifying life. Or, from my self-designed appellation:
Gina's Intertwining Wheel of a Satisfying Life
...Small actions in a dynamic system will trigger vast and unexpected changes