Interpersonal connection, spiritual fulfillment and the feeling of being at home: Happiness comes in many forms and is translated differently across cultures. Understanding contextual happiness, however, comes down to you as an individual and your own unique life experiences.
FORMS OF HAPPINESS
The shapes and sizes that well-being can embody are extensive.
However, the main forms of happiness such as excitement, joy, love, humor, pride, optimism, gratitude and fulfillment are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
As a result of individualism and contextual lifestyles, these core types of happiness are sub-categorized into feelings that can sometimes be hard to identify. In other words, cross-cultural understanding of these diverse feelings depends on your own worldview and emotional/linguistic intelligence.
The main forms of happiness such as excitement, joy, love, humor, pride, optimism, gratitude and fulfillment are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement in understanding happiness, with experts currently studying well-being in new, profound ways.
THE LANGUAGE OF HAPPINESS
When it comes to the language of happiness, a positive psychologist at the University of East London named Tim Lomas may be able to give us some clarification. Within Lomas’ website, he discusses positive lexicography and The Happy Words Project.
This project studies a collection of untranslatable words interrelated to various forms of happiness across global languages. For example, “ohanami” is a Japanese word illustrating gathering to enjoy and appreciate cherry blossoms, while “fjaka” is a Croatian word emphasizing the feeling of ultimate relaxation.
Within the foundation of this project, Lomas argues that studying various lexicons to understand happiness can amplify these feelings within us.
“Ohanami” is a Japanese word illustrating gathering to enjoy and appreciate cherry blossoms, while “fjaka” is a Croatian word emphasizing the feeling of ultimate relaxation.
To learn more about Lomas and his project, check out his TEDxTalk below.
UNDERSTANDING A TCK’s HAPPINESS
In a discussion with Ruth van Reken, author of “Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds,”she states that understanding contextual happiness is complex and sometimes hard to grasp. This is especially the case when considering all TCKs as a whole.
Van Reken tells us that:
Just as every TCK has a uniuqe upbringing, their perceptions and comprehension of happiness are just as individual.
Though, it is notable to point out that, just as most TCKs develop similar feelings of loss and identity confusion, they also share equivalent feelings of connection and social satisfaction when interacting with other TCKs.
In addition, these specific shared feelings are exclusive to TCK themselves. This is because the emotions associated with their upbringing are only understood by each other.
In the end, Reken mentions that her happiness stems from aspects of her life, like it does for us all.