Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.
LEO TOLSTOY, War and Peace
If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.
JANE AUSTEN, Mansfield Park
We ne’er can be
Made happy by compulsion.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, The Three Graves
Happiness hates the timid! So does science!
EUGENE O’NEILL, Strange Interlude
Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight.
RUMI, Essential Rumi
It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.
CHUCK PALAHNIUK, Diary
Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.
MAXIM GORKY, John Mason’s Know Your Limits
What is the worth of anything,
But for the happiness ’twill bring?
RICHARD OWEN CAMBRIDGE, Learning
Happiness consumes itself like a flame. It cannot burn for ever, it must go out, and the presentiment of its end destroys it at its very peak.
AUGUST STRINDBERG, A Dream Play
There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, First Inaugural Address, Apr. 30, 1789
Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.
AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged
Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
ROBERT FROST, as quoted in Vernon McLellan’s Wise Words and Quotes
Give a man health and a course to steer; and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Captain Brassbound’s Conversion
We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.
THICH NHAT HANH, Peace is Every Step
What we need for our happiness is often close at hand, if we knew but how to seek for it.
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, American Note-Books, Aug. 22, 1837
I kept looking for happiness, and then I realized: This is it. It’s a moment, and it comes, and it goes, and it’ll come back again. I yearn for things, but at the same time I’m just peaceful.
NICOLE KIDMAN, Vanity Fair, Oct. 2007
What is earthly happiness? that phantom of which we hear so much, and see so little; whose promises are constantly given and constantly broken, but as constantly believed; that cheats us with the sound instead of the substance, and with the blossom instead of the fruit. Like Juno, she is a goddess in pursuit, but a cloud in possession.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
Happiness expanded like an explosion inside me–so extreme, so violent that I wasn’t sure I’d survive it.
STEPHENIE MEYER, Breaking Dawn
Those who possess that treasure which no thief can take away,
Which, though on suppliants freely spent, increaseth day by day,
The source of inward happiness which shall outlast the earth–
To them e’en kings should yield the palm, and own their higher worth.
BHARTRHARI, “The Praise of the Wise Man”
How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.
WILLIAM JAMES, The Varieties of Religious Experience
Whatever the philosophers may say, it remains true that, from the first hour of man’s waking consciousness until that consciousness ceases, his most ardent desire is to be happy, and that the moment of his most profound regret is when he becomes convinced that on this earth perfect happiness cannot be found. Here is the problem which gives to the various ages of human history their special characters. Blithe are those ages when young and progressive nations still hope for happiness, or when men believe that in some new formula of philosophy, or of religion, or perhaps in some new industrial programme, the secret of human happiness has at last been found. Gloomy are those ages in which, as in our time, great masses of people are burdened with the conviction that all these familiar formulas have been illusions, and when persons of the keenest insight say–as they are now saying–that the very word happiness has in it a note of melancholy. No sooner, we are told, does one speak of happiness than it flees from him. In its very nature it lies beyond the sphere of practical realization.
KARL HILTY, Happiness: Essays on the Meaning of Life
The duty of happiness becomes clearer when we see how it affects others. It is the merry heart that makes the cheerful countenance, and it is the cheerful countenance that spreads cheer to make other hearts merry. The sunny soul brings sunshine everywhere. A bright and happy temperament is a great social asset, adding to the happiness of the world.
HUGH BLACK, Happiness
As the sea is beautiful not only in calm but also in storm, so is happiness found not only in peace but also in strife.
IVAN PANIN, Thoughts
The journey to true happiness and to happiness now is not a journey of physical distance or time; it is one of personal “self-recovery,” where we remember and reconnect consciously to an inner potential for joy–a paradise lost–waiting to be found.
ROBERT HOLDEN, Happiness Now: Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good Fast
Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.
EPICTETUS, The Art of Living
Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness.
ANDRE GIDE, Autumn Leaves
Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance, bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence.
WASHINGTON IRVING, Old Christmas
Happiness is the harvest of a quiet eye.
AUSTIN O’MALLEY, Keystones of Thought
To be happy you must be your own sunshine.
CHARLES EDWARD JERNINGHAM, The Maxims of Marmaduke.
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