The pursuit of happiness, it seems, continues to be a consuming enterprise for many people, especially those who have found the state of happiness - as they define it - an elusive goal. The phrase as they define it is key to understanding one of the reasons why so many claim to either not be happy or not really know whether or not they are. Some believe that happiness is the natural outcome of its commonly identified predecessors; namely, health and wealth. However, experience tells us that the anticipated trio of health, wealth, and happiness is often not realized.
It is a common question heard in psychotherapy offices from bewildered and confused people who do not understand why they are not 'happy' when, in their judgment, they have all of the necessary components of happiness. Many tend to believe that happiness is primarily a function of positive external factors and circumstances, like health and wealth. If this were generally true, then we would expect the wealthy to be happy and the poor to be the opposite. Obviously, we know this not to be the case. I have heard clients wonder why they don't seem to be as happy as the less well off neighbor or much less well paid colleague at the office.