The age-old question, "What makes people truly happy?" has been around for as long as anyone can remember. And, it's a question that's stumped many a philosopher, much less a psychologist! But, it seems research has come to the rescue, and we may finally understand what leads to happiness.
Turns out, the research points to two "pillars" of happiness: Sense of self and human connections. While this is hardly news, it's important to note what DOESN'T make us happier - money, things, a big house, a fancy car, worldly treasures (you get the idea).
So, what exactly are these two pillars? Sense of self is a sense of identity. Do you know who you are? In the face of struggle, are you resilient and able to maintain your balance? Do you follow your passion and achieve things you deem important? Do you trust yourself to make the right decision? Are you able to call yourself an individual?
Human connections, on the other hand, are our friendships, partnerships, children, parents, siblings, etc. They're those who support us, guide us, and sometimes challenge us.
Research now shows that those who report the highest levels of happiness score highly in both these areas. And, those who report being unhappy have unbalanced "pillars" or none at all.
It's always wise to evaluate your pillars and how their strength (or lack thereof) impacts who you are and how happy you consider yourself. If there's an imbalance, work on trying to strengthen one of your "pillars," so you can achieve a happier you.