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What is the difference between being happy and thinking you are happy?

I run across this idea every once in a while. Example; "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands". Can you really be happy and not know it?

TommyMeador 7 Dec 26

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Ignorance is bliss. - Thomas Gray

? - me

And when I'm happy and I don't know it I tend to be too happily involved with what I'm doing to even think of it.


I don;t think there is a difference, it is like being brave or acting brave.


If you are truly happy, you will remember it as a good time. If you're only thinking you are happy, you will not remember it the same way...

not remember it the same way... What could be the difference in how you remember it?

How is true happiness different from thinking you are happy?

You wouldn't know until later on...There may be circumstances (revealed later) that taint your memory of how good the times were. For example, toward the end of my marriage, my ex actually became pleasant to be around for about three months. Later I found out that she was sleeping with 2 other men during that time. Knowing that, I can no longer look back on that time as 'happy'...




Being happy is entirely a mental state. The challenge is overcoming physical circumstances to achieve this mental state. This is what Buddhism attempts to address. Today most people just turn to drugs. Buddhism is probably healthier though.

Agreed, especially zen.


When you are in an unhealthy relationship there are always ups and downs. You may be abused physically and mentally but then they'll do something special that is supposed to make all the bad stuff feeling go away. You may fool yourself that you are happy when it is temporary. Thats why this kind of relationship can go on for years until you establish a red line. Once that line is crossed all bets are off.

Do you think it would be possible to avoid abuse by not depending on others for our happiness in the first place? Abusive relationships require at least 2 participants who depend on each other for something. Right? How to be happy alone would be the challenge.

I agree-8 yrs ago I ended this toxic relationship-have been single for seven years.


For myself the difference between happiness and being down is life itself. To be in the state of happiness for me is the love that my family and friends provide and good health.. However that comes with the other side also.To loose a family member or a friend can bring great sorrow. Then there are the other aspects of life like winning the lottery, gaining a great job, enjoying a nice vacation. This is joy not to be confused with happiness. I am able to be happy without these things being necessary. Life is what you make it joy enhances happiness.


being happy is knowing what makes you happy and accomplishing it. Thinking you are happy is not actually knowing what makes you happy, and setting for the next best idea of happiness

Well said. I was "thinking" (ha!) That the phrase "thinking you are happy" carries a loud connotation of false awareness, or "missing the Forrest for the trees;" in essence, of believing something that isn't accurate.

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