How we bastardize happiness...and what to do instead

There’s this ideal look that symbolizes happiness. You know the one I’m talking about. Look up “happiness” in Google Images and tell me what you see. Go ahead…I’ll wait!

The woman with raised arms in the middle of a meadow.

The dude with a backpack standing on top of a cliff with outstretched arms.

The couple holding hands skipping along the beach.

The iconic in place jump shot around some body of water or field of flowers.

Is that what really symbolizes happiness? Because if so, I’m not very happy at all! LOL

I was having a conversation with someone the other day about this and the question was, “What image depicts happiness?

My answer…there isn’t one. At least not a single one that shows what it SHOULD look like for everyone.

Everybody is different and has their own way to BE happy. Their own way to FEEL happiness.

For instance, in preparation for this post, I sat back, closed my eyes, and thought about what images depict happiness for me.

Here’s what I came up with…playing board games with my fam on a Saturday night, getting along with family members, especially the one I haven’t had a great relationship with over the years, Precious (the cat) purring on my lap in her own Happyland, chowing down on a good ol’ juicy burger (hey, tasty burgers make me happy!), and a million other ideas I came up with, none of which looked like the images that stock photography says happiness looks like. In addition, I’ve talked about a few other things that brings about happiness for me here.

Genuine happiness can only be achieved when we transform our way of life from the unthinking pursuit of pleasure to one committed to enriching our inner lives, when we focus on ‘being more’ rather than simply having more.~Daisaku Ikeda

Merriam-Webster gives us one definition of basterdize: to produce a poor copy or version of (something).

And that’s what we’ve done…bastardized happiness through this generic portrayal of what it looks like to be happy. I think people, especially my fellow chicks, often get caught up in trying to be the “perfect happy.

You don’t have to go to a beach, jump up in the air (heck, the girls won’t let me jump much anyway unless I have on a super duper sports bra! LOL), or go skipping in a field to be happy. You don’t NEED to do anything.

I get it though. To be happy, genuinely happy, usually indicates some level of positive, joyful feelings, albeit fleeting (as we know the state of happiness is) and I know that the photographers who take those pics are well meaning and do so with great intentions but the problem is that images such as these can make us feel that “not enoughness” feeling and it’s a downward spiral into “I Suck Land” after that.

 And I’m afraid that someone who may be struggling with achieving their own happiness might see these images and think happiness is unachievable. Imagery is POWERFUL!

A New Happy

So instead of viewing those pics I described above as the bees knees of happiness, here’s what I want you to do….

  1. Don’t pay attention to what someone says happiness should look like (not even me!).
  2. Do you boo.
  3. Know that happiness is truly an INSIDE job!
  4. Do you boo.
  5. I can tell you to smile and laugh more often (as I often say) but will you do it? It sounds so trivial but trust me when I say it’s usually the smallest of things that bring about the greatest impact!
  6. Do you boo.
  7. Take pictures of yourself when you’re in a good mood. You don’t have to share them with anyone but make a personal collage so you can start a collection of your own happy photos. When you need a quick pick me up, those are the images that I want you to go back to…not anybody else’s.
  8. Lastly, do you boo – whatever that means for you.. 😉

See the overall theme here?

B. Alan Wallac, scholar and author of Genuine Happiness, emphasizes, “True happiness is the fruit not of worldly trappings and ambitions but of a focused mind and an open heart.

Well said, Wallac, well said!

Over to you…

What images depict happiness for you? Please share in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts because I know they’ll be as diverse as we all are!


Wassuper, it’s yo girl, Kesha and I believe we should Be the Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios because life is more interesting when you dare to be different and challenge what’s “normal!” I am wildly passionate about helping highly driven women pursue fantabulous relationships, juicytastic careers/bizzes, and authentically inspired lives.

How We Bastardize Happiness (and what to do instead)

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  • Good post. I do agree that happiness is subjective, and just because someone is smiling, doesn’t mean to say that they are happy (anyone who is polite but suffering from depression can testify to that).

    Happiness (in my books) comes from within, and could be nothing but a small, discreet smile.

    Thanks for posting

    • And thank you for sharing your thoughts, Julian! You are absolutely right about smiling in relation to happiness. It is not always an indicator. The internal composition of what happiness feels like manifests itself in so many different ways and is such an individual thing. Like you said, could be just a simple smile. 🙂


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