The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

Home      Search      About      Contact      Terms      Privacy

Quotations about Happiness

...the only possible good in the universe is happiness. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to try and make somebody else so. ~Robert G. Ingersoll, 1888

I've learned to be happy with what I have, and even if I lost it, I'd still be happy, because (see start of sentence.) ~Robert Brault,, 2019

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. ~Mark Twain, 1896

There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time. ~Edith Wharton, "The Last Asset," in Scribner's Magazine, 1904  [Followed by, "That was Schopenhauer's idea, I believe." —tg]

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. ~E. L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, 1967

The key to happiness? Simple really. You don't let short-term concerns ruin your life, and you don't let long-term concerns ruin your day. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness is always a by-product. It never comes to those who concentrate on securing it... It always comes as a result of something else. The pursuit of noble things, the things essentially worth while... As a man goes on life's journey, with a brave heart, doing the best he can... he often hears the faint flutter of invisible wings, he feels a presence, a companion. It is Happiness. ~Chicago Herald, c. 1917

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. ~Robertson Davies (1913–1995)

All persons carry with them some means of happiness. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

I don't think you can feel a sense of entitlement and still be happy. Happiness always comes from feeling that you've been blessed. ~Robert Brault,

It is pretty generally admitted that riches may be secured wrongfully, but happiness cannot. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Glory's not otherwhere but here:
Yonder stars may be more horrible than the worst of Earth.
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance:
The wise grows it under his feet.
~James Oppenheim, "The Wise," War and Laughter, 1916

After stumbling around looking for contentment for years I suddenly learned that you cannot find it by hunting furiously for it. Happiness sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open. ~John Barrymore, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1934

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best—," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. ~A.A. Milne

Must happiness always be a pursuit? Might it just be waking up each morning on the road you wish to travel and letting it take you wherever? ~Robert Brault,

Happiness and sadness run parallel to each other. When one takes a rest, the other one tends to take up the slack. ~Hazelmarie "Mattie" Elliott

[H]appiness in its loftiest sense is a prayer... ~Mrs. J. Page Hopps, "Happiness as a Fine Art," 1904

I'm perfectly happy. — If only it were true. Not that I suppose anybody is ever perfectly happy, really. But just to be ordinarily contented, to be at peace. ~Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, 1945

Other people become less confusing once you realize that Happiness is not one-size-fits-all. ~Dr. SunWolf,

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants and to serve them one’s self, so as to have somewhat left to give, instead of being always prompt to grab? ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is a wine of the rarest vintage... ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "Afterthoughts," 1930

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "Afterthoughts," 1930

...Thus pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find...
~William Wordsworth, "Stray Pleasures," 1806

But in giving happiness they give life, that is why happiness is worth having. When you play you are happy, while you are happy you are in eternity — for happiness annihilates time and space. ~Holbrook Jackson, "Peterpantheism," Romance and Reality: Essays and Studies, 1911

Happiness is a form of courage. ~American proverb

We must laugh before we are happy, for fear of dying without having laughed at all. ~Jean de La Bruyere

Tranquil pleasures last the longest. We are not fitted to bear long the burden of great joys. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Pleasure," Intuitions, 1862

There are so many kinds of happiness, and each knows it in his own way and according to the size of the hole in the wall through which he views life. ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917

Don't dream of happiness; deserve it. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

Merriment comes in sparks, joy in flashes, and happiness in lightnings. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Happiness," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

Every now and then,
when the world sits just right,
a gentle breath of heaven
fills my soul with delight...
~Hazelmarie "Mattie" Elliott, A Breath of Heaven

The secret to happiness is to put the burden of proof on unhappiness. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness is a well-balanced combination of love, labour, and luck. ~Mary Wilson Little, Reveries of a Paragrapher, 1897

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour. ~Variation of "The test of a well-adjusted motorist is his ability to enjoy the scenery while on a detour" from Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips & Quotes, 1968

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. ~Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington

And she had lain awake through the silent midnight so alive with a tingling, electric joy that she could not sleep. ~Kate J. Neely, "Letty's Proposal," 1862

She wielded her desires like a magic pen and scrawled the great wonderword Happiness across her life in letters of flame and gold and diamonds and roses! ~Anita Vivanti Chartres (1866–1942), The Hunt for Happiness, 1896  [A little altered. Actually, the word was Fame but she later wanted to rewrite it as Happiness when she realized that Fame was disappointment, disillusion, and incompleteness. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A happy thought is like a seed that sows positivity for all to reap. ~Miriam Muhammad, @flawlessmi, September 2009 winner of The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

Be happy in small things. They give great happinesses the opportunity to creep up on you, quietly. ~Pam Brown, To Someone Special, Wishing You Happiness, 2008,

Look about you with eyes keen for the silver lining in the blackest cloud. ~H. Addington Bruce, "Get the Joy Habit," Self-Development: A Handbook for the Ambitious, 1921

Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination. ~Immanuel Kant

The secret of happiness is to find a congenial monotony. ~V. S. Pritchett

Real elation is when you feel you could touch a star without standing on tiptoe. ~Doug Larson

Be happy, and a reason will come along. ~Robert Brault,

Tucker seemed too happy to smile, his expression solemn and prayerful. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

The whole world is full of unworked joy-mines. Everywhere we go we find all sorts of happiness-producing material, if we only know how to extract it. ~Orison Swett Marden, The Joys of Living, 1913

Let us be thankful to people who bring us happiness; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust  [He continues: But let us be even more grateful to the cruel, unkind, and indifferent, who have devastated our hearts and enabled us to finally contemplate ourselves. —tg]

And the joy of the world in my spirit is springing! ~Edwin Markham, "Wind on the Rye," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913

With some whose nerves have a deep covering of fat, happiness is less of a problem than it is an accident of anatomy. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Happiness," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

In sunshine or in shade
The gossamer wings of joy
Are always to be seen.
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "Sentences That I Make Up," The Poems of a Child, Being Poems Written Between the Ages of Six and Ten, 1904

Don't be afraid to be glad. As the mists and cobwebs fade before the sunbeams of morning, so sadness flies. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

She knew that something wonderful and beautiful was going to happen. It had happened; it was happening now... If nothing changed, if this minute that she was living now prolonged itself, if it went on for ever and ever, that would be happiness enough. ~May Sinclair, The Romantic, 1920

Franklin smiled benevolently at the questioner, and quickly, blandly, he replied, “My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself!" ~Author unknown, 1950s

Some pursue happiness, others create it. ~Author unknown

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness is breathlessly chasing you. ~Terri Guillemets

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness. ~Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, 1954

The search for happiness is unlike any other search, for we search last in the likeliest places. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness is always the serendipitous result of looking for something else. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Nearly every human being is looking for happiness, but very few know what happiness is. Nevertheless if you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness, as if it were a collar stud that has rolled under the dressing-table. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself, nor will he be seeking it among the nebulous wastes of metaphysics. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), How to Be Happy Though Human, 1931

If you search the world for happiness, you may find it in the end, for the world is round and will lead you back to your door. ~Robert Brault,

How little we know
As we follow its track
How much of the search
Will be circling back.
~Robert Brault, "On Searching For Happiness,", 2018

Happiness is no apple that you can peel and eat. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), How to Be Happy Though Human, 1931

Happiness is a quality and an attribute of the good life. The more you try to define it the less you know about it. It is as ineluctable as electricity, as evanescent as melody, as indefinable as health, as variable as speed, time, matter, and the other fictions on which life itself is built. Happiness knows no standards and no limits. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), How to Be Happy Though Human, 1931

For it is our thesis that living happily is a fine art that nearly everyone who possesses an iota of intelligence, courage, and a sense of humor can learn. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), How to Be Happy Though Human, 1931

The art of being a complete, and happy, human being may be likened to a process of creative self-sculpture. This term best describes the art of attaining poise and satisfaction, of gaining the courageous hopefulness and sense of freedom, the objective self-esteem that are the essential premises of happiness. Our heritage as human beings is the raw material of the fine art of being human. Every man must take this rock and hew out a design for himself. If he succeeds in this task within the time limit set by nature, he may well consider himself a happy human being. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), How to Be Happy Though Human, 1931

The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment. ~Doug Larson

The next morning Brush woke up and lay for a long time staring at the ceiling. He felt wonderfully well. ~Thornton Wilder, Heaven's My Destination, 1935

The best climate is found in the state of Contentment. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

I think the key to life is just being a happy person, and happiness will bring you success. ~Diego Val

Often one's greatest happiness needs less to be pursued than welcomed. ~Robert Brault, 2017,

Cheerfulness is what greases the axles of the world; some people go through life creaking. ~Friendly Calendar, 1911

My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones,
Nor to be seen: my crown is called content:
A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.
~William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III, c.1590  [III, 1, Henry VI]

Isn't it cool when the days that are supposed to feel good, actually do? ~Jim Carrey, @JimCarrey, tweet, 2010

      So take joy home,
And make a place in thy great heart for her,
And give her time to grow, and cherish her;
Then will she come, and oft will sing to thee,
When thou art working in the furrows; ay,
Or weeding in the sacred hour of dawn.
It is a comely fashion to be glad—
Joy is the grace we say to God...
~Jean Ingelow, "Dominion," A Story of Doom and Other Poems, 1867

Joy is such stuff as the hinges of Heaven's doors are made of. ~Robert Haven Schauffler, "A Defense of Joy," The Joyful Heart, 1914

The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid. ~J. D. Salinger, 1952

Joy is not in things, it is in us. ~Charles Wagner

Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. ~John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, 1873

The surest way to find a paradise on earth, the old gardener told us, is to plant your own. ~Dr. SunWolf,

You can't postpone sorrow, so why would you postpone happiness? ~Robert Brault,

There is no way to peace; peace is the way. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way. If you are determined, you can do it with your breathing. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I dunno, you get to a point in life where you'd settle for life, liberty and the pursuit of can't complain. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness is the sunshine of life... ~The Encyclopædia Britannica, 1841

Happiness is the sunshine of the soul. ~Proverb

Happiness is sunshine of the heart;
It is the soul's illumination, a light...
~James Henry Potts, "Happiness," Every Life a Delight, 1914

What is joy? A sunbeam between two clouds. ~Madame de Luzy

Happiness is like sunshine. It may carry in the seed of disaster when it is too intense. ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917

My heart grows light so fast that I could mount a grasshopper and gallop around the world, and not fatigue him any! ~Emily Dickinson, 1852

Let us have done with vain regrets and longings for the days that never will be ours again. Our work lies in front, not behind us; and "Forward!" is our motto. Let us not sit with folded hands, gazing upon the past as if it were the building: it is but the foundation. Let us not waste heart and life, thinking of what might have been, and forgetting the may-be that lies before us. Opportunities flit by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not because of the happiness that is gone. ~Jerome K. Jerome, "On Memory," The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow: A Book for an Idle Holiday, 1890

Real happiness is not of temporary enjoyment, but is so interwoven with the future that it blesses for ever. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

We can't control the world. We can only (barely) control our own reactions to it. Happiness is largely a choice, not a right or entitlement. ~David C. Hill,

I can be perfectly happy by myself. With freedom, flowers, books, and the moon, who could not be perfectly happy? ~Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

One tear of joy outweighs a thousand tears of grief. ~James Henry Potts, "Laugh and Live Long," Every Life a Delight, 1914

We are seldom happy with what we now have, but would go to pieces if we lost any part of it. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

I have only two kinds of days: happy and hysterically happy. ~Allen J. Lefferdink, unverified

New heart makes new health, dear. Happiness is haleness. ~Emily Dickinson, 1865

...the question isn't whether you're happy or unhappy but alive or dead. ~James Baldwin

Happiness comes in a million forms... We need the great and memorable... But we need the small and silly too: rain on the window, mushrooms in the grass, double rainbows, home-baked bread. And moonlight on meadows, a long-sought book discovered, stars. All things that lift the heart and make the dullest day worth living. ~Pam Brown, To Someone Special, Wishing You Happiness, 2008,

The key to happiness is pretty much the same as the key to worry and anxiety — you must learn to make a big deal out of nothing. ~Robert Brault,

The happiness which is lacking makes one think even the happiness one has unbearable. ~Joseph Roux, translated by Isabel F. Hapgood

Happiness is but a bubble,
Love a blind and fickle thing,
If we do not take the trouble
To know better, and thus sing—
      Happiness is dew of roses
      Sprinkled lightly on the heart,
      Love their fragrance—both are posies
      Written on Life's mystic chart.
~James Mackintosh, "Fill a Bumper," Antonio, & Other Poems, 1876

If you feel happy to the point of saying so, listen! unhappiness is at your door. ~Joseph Roux, translated by Isabel F. Hapgood

So long as we can lose any happiness we possess some; and it is the truth that most people possess more than they realize, for we know how pathetically often loss reveals what a great quantity has been possessed but not realized. ~Booth Tarkington, c. 1926

Jumping for joy is good exercise. ~Author unknown

One thing you notice about the happiest people is that they always seem to have the littlest reason. ~Robert Brault,

Joy never feasts so high,
As when the first course is of misery.
~John Suckling, Aglaura, 1638  [Ziriff —tg] happy emotion of the heart lightens up Fancy's scenery like a sunbeam. ~Thomas Clark Henley, A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

Happiness is distraction from the human tragedy. ~J. M. Reinoso

We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. ~Thomas Merton, 1955

Seeking happiness, I passed many travelers headed in the opposite direction, seeking happiness. ~Robert Brault,

You remember the old nursery song, Phil: "If you want to be happy, be good, — be good." ~Julia A. Willis, What A Boy!, 1875

If you want to be happy — be busy. ~Charles Edwards, "Bird Lessons for the Bairns," 1897

If you want to be happy, be grateful. ~Donald Brophy

If you want to be happy, be kind to others. ~John Hospers

If you want to be happy, be yourself. Be your best. Be present in your life. ~Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson

If you want to be happy, be happy. ~South African proverb

If you want to be happy, be. ~Author unknown

Never take offense when none is intended. Act as though you were born to be happy and will not allow any one to make you unhappy. ~James Henry Potts, "Secrets of Success," Every Life a Delight, 1914

The greatest gift we give to someone who loves us is simply to be happy. ~Robert Brault,

I must admit that I love the things of this world... I love things that sparkle and shine and glow… I love things that taste good… I love beautiful sounds… ~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 1971  [Peppermint Patty to Charlie Brown —tg]

Why, all the happiness the world inherits is for you, but you have shut yourself from it. ~Alwyn M. Thurber, Quaint Crippen, 1896

The happy have whole days, and those they choose,
The unhappy have but hours, and those they lose.
~Colley Cibber, The Double Gallant: or, The Sick Lady's Cure, 1707

You actually would have thought Joe was purring, he was so happy... ~Peppermint Perkins (Joe Perkins), 1885

Happiness... is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. ~Iris Murdoch, The Nice and the Good, 1968

With a wild, overwhelming joy... ~Charles Gibbon, The Flower of the Forest, 1882

Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly often attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults. ~Thomas Szasz, as quoted in Abe Arkoff, Psychology and Personal Growth, 1980

One joy scatters a hundred griefs. ~Chinese proverb

We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it. ~Bernard Shaw, Candida, 1898

A man's as miserable as he thinks he is. ~Seneca

I went away thinking about the concept of a 'right to happiness'. At first this sounds to me as odd as a right to good luck... A right to happiness doesn't, for me, make much more sense than a right to be six feet tall, or to have a millionaire for your father, or to get good weather whenever you want to have a picnic... But of course that was not what Clare meant. She meant that he had not only a legal but a moral right to act as he did... that behind the laws of the state there is a Natural Law. I agree with her. I hold this conception to be basic to all civilization... but... I don't think it is obvious that people have the unlimited 'right to happiness' which she suggests. ~C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)

Misery is almost always the result of thinking. ~Joseph Joubert

Whatever you set aside to seek happiness, remember where you put it. ~Robert Brault,

HAPPINESS.—A butterfly, which when pursued, seems always just beyond your grasp; but if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~"A Chapter of Definitions," Daily Crescent, 1848 June 23rd

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy. ~Anton Chekhov, 1898

The trick is to live your happiness, with a joyful daily awareness, not just recognize it years later, as a wistful memory. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness, without dreaming of it; but likely enough it is gone the moment we say to ourselves, "Here it is!" like the chest of gold that treasure-seekers find. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1851

Real happiness is more of a habit than a goal, more of an attitude than an attainment. It is the companion of cheerfulness, not the creature of circumstance. Happiness is what overtakes us when we forget ourselves, when we learn to open our eyes in optimism and close the door in the face of defeat. ~William Arthur Ward

Every day spent happily striving toward some unreachable goal is to achieve the real goal, which is to spend your days happily. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens. ~Douglas Jerrold

What is earthly happiness?... Like Juno, she is a goddess in pursuit, but a cloud in possession... Happiness, that grand mistress of the ceremonies in the dance of life, impels us through all its mazes and meanderings, but leads none of us by the same route... She is deceitful as the calm that precedes the hurricane, smooth as the water on the verge of the cataract, and beautiful as the rainbow, that smiling daughter of the storm; but, like the mirage in the desert, she tantalizes us with a delusion that distance creates, and contiguity destroys. Yet, when unsought she is often found, and when unexpected often obtained; while those who seek for her the most diligently fail the most, because they seek her where she is not. ~C. C. Colton

When it comes to happiness, I think a lot of effort is spent to have tomorrow what just slowing down a little would get you today. ~Robert Brault,

It is strange what a contempt men have for the joys that are offered them freely. ~Georges Duhamel, The Heart's Domain (La Possession du monde), translated by Eleanor Stimson Brooks, 1919

If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal, — that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Higher Laws," Walden, or Life in the Woods, 1854

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Higher Laws," Walden, or Life in the Woods, 1854

There is no expert on what happiness is but many on what it might have been. ~Robert Brault,

Sometimes I think, if my mother wasn't so good at pretending to be happy, she'd be better at actually being happy. ~My So-Called Life, "Other People's Mothers," 1994, written by Richard Kramer  [S1, E10]

If a person's basic state of mind is serene and calm, then it is possible for this inner peace to overwhelm a painful physical experience. On the other hand, if someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, or any form of emotional distress, then even if he or she happens to be enjoying physical comforts, he will not really be able to experience the happiness that these could bring. ~Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Grief counts the seconds: happiness forgets the hours. ~J. De Finod

Eden is that old fashioned House
We dwell in every day,
Without suspecting our abode
Until we drive away...
~Emily Dickinson

If you flatter yourself properly you will be better able to enjoy yourself. Stretch your joy so that others enjoy you too. ~Willis Goth Regier, In Praise of Flattery, 2007

      Let a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands
And take it when it runs by...
Joy always,
Joy everywhere—
Let joy kill you!
Keep away from the little deaths.
~Carl Sandburg, "Joy," Chicago Poems, 1916

Some of the nicest people I know would rather lie on the grass and watch fat, white clouds languidly play tag with each other in a deep-blue sky than dig an asparagus trench. Maybe they are just plain lazy or maybe they are poets, by temperament if not by performance. In either case, why disturb them? It seems to me that our first obligation to ourselves, our family and friends, and to society, is to be happy. If they are happy lying on the grass they are only doing their duty. ~Ruth Stout, "The Second Season," How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, 1955

We never give up wanting things for ourselves, but there comes a day when what we want for ourselves is someone else's happiness. ~Robert Brault,

Unquestionably it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen twentieths of mankind, even in those parts of our present world which are least deep in barbarism... ~John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, 1863

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. ~Author unknown

Content can soothe, where e'er by fortune placed,
Can rear a garden in a desert waste.
~Henry Kirke White (1785–1806), "Clifton Grove"

Happiness has not to all the same name: to Youth she is known as the Future; Age knows her as the Dream. ~Ambrose Bierce

Even happiness worries sometimes. ~Terri Guillemets

Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. ~Samuel Johnson, 1759

You say the world is sad, that all must die.
      Yet I would live! With humming-birds I sip
      The honey from the flower's painted lip.
I hear the silver temple bell, and lie
In poppy fields. And, though I know not why,
      A breeze has blown across my face the tip
      Of fairy's wing. Into the dawn I dip.
Unto the night I lift my arms, and sigh,
And wonder. With the firefly's wings I toy,
      And fear them not, for if they burn, the mad
            Imagined pleasure is the more complete.
      You say that life is sad,— then I am sad,
            And weep, and even tears are bitter-sweet.
For they are shadows of the tears of joy!
~Dorothe Bendon, "Love of Life," 1926

Considering the way the world is, one happy day is almost a miracle. ~Paulo Coelho

On the whole, the happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except the fact that they are so... ~William R. Inge

But to be happy it is essential not to be too concerned with others. ~Albert Camus, The Fall, 1956, translated by Justin O'Brien

Sometimes we don't find the thing that will make us happy because we can't give up the thing that was supposed to. ~Robert Brault,

Happiness is like the penny candy of our youth: we got a lot more for our money back when we had no money. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness. ~Don Marquis

We cannot afford to be anchorites. There is no such thing as being happy ourselves unless we make others happy. ~T. De Witt Talmage, 1884

Joy is more divine than sorrow; for joy is bread, and sorrow is medicine. ~Henry Ward Beecher

No matter how carefully you plan your life, in the end your happiness comes down to someone who one day just walked into it. ~Robert Brault,

[T]he beautiful world of blossom and love and friendship had lost none of its power to please her fancy and thrill her heart... life still called to her with many insistent voices. ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables  [the comfort of knowing the world goes on after grief, and we can too —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

When a man has lost all happiness, he’s not alive. Call him a breathing corpse. ~Sophocles

One day you just say "To heck with it," and you go looking for trouble, and you find happiness. ~Robert Brault,

May I have, through life, a perfect digestion
And, also, the full price of a meal!
And may I, I pray, have a comfortable bed,
Which is asking, I know, a great deal!
~Gertrude T. Buckingham, "My Prayer," 1940s

The test of all happiness is gratitude... ~Gilbert K. Chesterton, "The Ethics of Elfland," Orthodoxy, 1908

Many things can make you miserable for weeks; few can bring you a whole day of happiness. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1963

I don't think most people want to be unhappy. It's just something they've gotten good at. ~Robert Brault,

...and to be obliged to beg our daily happiness from others, bespeaks a more lamentable poverty than that of him who begs his daily bread. ~C. C. Colton

      His mother shrugged his troubles from her shoulders and left him to ferment in his own vinegar. But Willie was not happy. He was getting what he asked for, and it was not what he wanted. Perhaps he had never been truly happy in his whole existence. He had been amused at times, but usually then with a cynical delight in somebody's misfortunes or mistakes.
      How could he have been thoroughly happy when he had never been truly well? What health he had was a negation, a convalescence; it was at best a not being sick. He was of a fabric that broke down and wore through constantly. He could understand the definition of happiness as "having a splinter in your finger and getting it out."
      But the joy that comes from bounding arteries, glowing skin, a galloping heart, a volcanic desire to laugh because the soul is bursting with laughter, or to sing for mere song's sake, or to be an instrument in the symphonic universe when it is playing one of its mighty ensembles — that cosmic happiness was unknown to Willie Enslee.
      When he found a rapture he always found something the matter with it; there was a worm in the apple, a slug in the salad, a fly in the ointment, a flaw in the diamond. ~Rupert Hughes, What Will People Say?, 1914

Man should have an intuition of this far-reaching cosmic purpose and then, if he takes care to see that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things, the difficulties of earthly existence will not destroy his peace of mind. ~Epictetus

BRASSBOUND.  I don't say I was happy in it; but I wasn't unhappy, because I wasn't drifting. I was steering a course and had work in hand. Give a man health and a course to steer; and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not.
LADY CICELY.  Sometimes he won't even stop to trouble about whether other people are happy or not.
~Bernard Shaw, Captain Brassbound's Conversion, 1899

Anne was always glad in the happiness of her friends; but it is sometimes a little lonely to be surrounded everywhere by a happiness that is not your own. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

Happiness is the natural flower of duty. ~Phillips Brooks

Do cartwheels in the green grass of happiness and skip high towards the blue heavenly skies of joy! ~Terri Guillemets

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? ~Albert Camus

Happiness is an occasional brief glance into how simple it all can be. ~Robert Brault,

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about. ~The Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness, 1914

Looking back on a happy life, one realizes that one was not happy all the time. ~Robert Brault,

She is leading what she calls "an ideal life," — painting, music, love, and the world shut out. ~Louisa May Alcott, journal, February 1879, of May Alcott Nieriker

Cheerfulness is just as natural to the heart of a man in strong health as colour is to his cheek; and wherever there is habitual gloom, there must be either bad air, unwholesome food, improperly severe labour, or erring habits of life. ~John Ruskin, "Of Mountain Beauty: The Mountain Gloom," Modern Painters, 1856

Happify. — To please. ~Slang and its Analogues: A Dictionary of Heterodox Speech, John S. Farmer and W. E. Henley, 1890s

Consequently, we should try as much as possible to maintain a high degree of health; for cheerfulness is the very flower of it. ~Arthur Schopenhauer

Happy lovers keep no diary. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

With penetrating insight, the mystics will tell us that when we have a desire for a certain thing, a certain experience, and we fulfill that desire, the happiness we feel is not something given by that thing or experience; it is due to having no craving for a little while. ~Eknath Easwaran, The Mantram Handbook

[T]he true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life... ~William Morris, "The Aims of Art," 1887

If yu ever find happiness bi hunting for it, yu will find it, az the old woman did the spektakles she had lost, safe on her own noze all the time. ~Josh Billings

It is not happiness until you capture it and store it out of the reach of time. ~Robert Brault,

Oh, God, if I'm anything by a clinical name, I'm a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy. ~J. D. Salinger

Cultivate the art of jollying yourself! ~Elizabeth Jones Towne, Practical Methods for Self Development, 1904

Before we set our Hearts too much upon any Thing, let us examine how happy those are, who already possess it. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)

Every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. ~Irving Hoffman

He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. ~Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness, 1958

Hold happiness gently. It is on loan. ~Pam Brown, To Someone Special, Wishing You Happiness, 2008,

[U]sefulness is happiness, and... all other things are but incidental. ~Lydia Maria Child, The American Frugal Housewife, 1829

Happiness Makes Up in Height for What It Lacks in Length  ~Robert Frost

Contentment is the more serene brother of Happiness. ~Terri Guillemets

To be happy, you must fancy that everything you have is a gift, and you the chosen, though you worked your tail off for every bit of it. ~Robert Brault,

All of us have had the experience of a sudden joy that came when nothing in the world had forewarned us of its coming — a joy so thrilling that if it was born of misery we remembered even the misery with tenderness. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière

Most of us believe in trying to make other people happy only if they can be happy in ways which we approve. ~Robert Lynd

Americans pursue happiness as they would a firefly, and when caught trap it in a jar until it suffocates from lack of freedom. ~Terri Guillemets, "Glow of happiness," 2004

So often the shortest distance to happiness is the length of an about-face. ~Robert Brault,

Yet the name of Abdalrahman may be added to the list of those who from the time of Solomon to the present age, have complained that the possession of a throne could never afford any lasting satisfaction. An authentic memorial, which ought to temper the ardour of ambition, was found in the closet of the Caliph after his decease; was transcribed, and carefully preserved, as an instructive lesson to posterity. "I have now reigned above fifty years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honours, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity; in this situation I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen: O man! place not thy confidence in this present world." The admonition was probably read, admired, and neglected... ~Alexander Beaumont, History of Spain, 1793  [Abd al-Rahman —tg]

Happiness pulses with every beat of my heart. ~Terri Guillemets

HAPPINESS, n.  An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Word Book, 1906

Home      Search      About      Contact      Terms      Privacy

published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2020 Dec 31
last saved 2023 Mar 29