Perceptions of Happiness

EvCC Students Discuss How Their Culture Shaped Them

Happiness, Felicidad, 행복, Bonheur, Saeada, Xìngfú, Glück, 幸福 … a universal word. The definition of happiness in the dictionary is “the state of feeling or showing pleasure.” But how is this definition shaped by each culture? 

During an interview with The Clipper, when asked how they would describe happiness, the reaction from various EvCC students were similar to the response of a quantum physics question. After reviewing all the responses, it showed that for most oriental cultures, happiness is beyond a state of mind. A communication student from Japan, Mirei Maejima, stated “happiness is something that gives me a peaceful feeling. It is difficult to get, but once you get it, it will become a very meaningful thing.” 

It is more like a state of internal peace, harmony or of constant well-being. “Peace of mind is the real happiness I think,” said Hussain Kayali an EvCC student from Syria. 

Most of the Western cultures described happiness as a more self-sufficient feeling, achieving goals, being happy with what one has and experiencing pleasure in the physical and intellectual aspects of life. “Happiness for me is being somewhere you really feel like home, feeling free and being successful,” said Ansel Lima from Brazil. “Happiness for me is enjoying and being okay with what you have in your life at the moment,” says Camila Lopez from Colombia.

Adrianna Vison-Montgomery
EvCC student, Ansel Lima, discusses his perception of happiness.

When asked to write in order the five most important things that make them happy, 95% of the first responses were “family” and secondly “friends”, showing how love and company are strongly shared by cultures and a key factor when talking about happiness.  

Conformation, success, stability, peace, essential, true love, safe, freedom and energy were some of the words used by students to dine their own happiness. This shows how personal happiness is too. “May your priority be love towards yourself, life and others. Being able to love the simple, the humane and the small details of life… is the happiness that fights the dark feeling of emptiness,” said an anonymous EvCC student.