Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happiness: A Statistician's Dilemma

How do you measure happy? Subjectively, I measure "happy" everyday. I see friends looking stressed and my personal happy-meter bings, "Uh, oh, you are not rating well today." Well, I get asked if I'm happy a lot more than I used to and I pretty much always say yes. The levels of happy that I am when posed that question are presumably different, and, objectively, I am probably always a little unhappy, too, but I know intrinsically that "Yes," is the right answer. And not right in a you-will-feel-better-if-I-tell-you-I'm-fine kind of way, but right in a this-feels-right kind of way. More importantly I don't think one can (or should) rate their happiness against others, ie "I am happier than you are." In my current relationship I have a no one-upping rule (although to be honest I'm not sure he really knows it except to the extent that I shut him down immediately if he ever says anything that qualifies). This means no "No, I love you more,"s and no "You're the best." I don't want to measure that emotion against someone else's (besides, you should already know you're the best). Why measure something unquantifiable? I'm happy. Can that be enough? Can we stop trying to be happier

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