Can A Person Learn To Be Happy?

My ex and mega-Scorpio, the AMF, made me aware of “happy people” in the world. He was astute. He pointed out that I was a happy person as were various people we’d run across. A waitress with a wide grin for example. Just random people we’d see. He’d always notice the happy ones because he just couldn’t figure them out.

With Venus in Scorpio conjunct Saturn in the 8th, he’d wonder, “Why in the world is that guy happy? What’s he got to be happy about..?”

It was queer for us because we spent a lot of time together, one of us always grinning with the other wondering why.

The AMF vacillated between envying “happy people” and thinking we might be something akin to brain-damaged but in whatever case we were both amused and talked about this a lot.

Now obviously people have a predisposition towards happiness that is shown vividly in a chart but here’s the question:

Are you happy?  Do you think a (basically) unhappy person can learn to be happy?

skip to – How happy people get that way and how unhappy people might join them

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Can A Person Learn To Be Happy? — 43 Comments

  1. Indeed it can – you learn to appreciate and value the things you DO have in life, because they can be lost too. You discover what is essential and what can be done without. You become strong. Happiness comes from a place of strength, where you realize you always have the ability to provide the essentials for yourself. And from here it is possible to share happiness with others 🙂

  2. I’ve got a venus saturn conjunction that also squares Cappy moon, so I struggle with this quite a bit. It helps to keep some perspective on it, realize you are making yourself miserable. But Saturn is a bitch b/c realizing you’re doing it to yourself often just makes you tear yourself down more…

  3. This song freaks me out/is unconvincing. It seems to mean something other than shiny, happy simplicity just like Everybody Hurts seems to be more complex than meets the eye. Why was he so confused as to why people are happy? Did he think they didn’t have a good reason to be happy?

    I spent time with a friend when she was depressed and it freaked me out. It was like the little things in life, the things that make us happy during the day, the treats and outings we set up for ourselves, for instance, we were shoe shopping and she likes shoe shopping, were too weak to give her any pleasure. It made me feel how weak my own pleasures are, the things that make me happy during the day are so small and they were momentarily sweeped into her own unsatisfied sadness. But at the same time, I thought she was the deluded one, like there was a veil under her eyes, chemical shit that prevented her from enjoying the various good things and treats she set up in front of herself. Wanting to die being so pointless, like she convinced herself that what she had wasn’t worth it using a flawed logical argument. All the clinically depressed people I’ve met, I feel like they have a veil over their eyes keeping them from enjoying stuff, but it seems like those very same people write about how no one understands their condition. I kind of look at them quizzically like the AMF does and try to hold on to the little things that make me happy. (I also have a pretty heavily aspected Jupiter in Pisces, I have lots of faith that at their core, when people are enlightened and exalted, they learn that life is essentially happy)

  4. my husband says i’ve “got that happy thing going.” he’s a double virgo, and worries for sport.

    he also suggests that it’s a partiuclar type of insanity, not seeing or worrying about every potential disaster lurking in the next 30 seconds, but also tells me he feeds off of it at the same time and appreciates it to no end.

  5. Absolutely. I am learning how to be happy even if it’s listening to a bird sing or smiling at a stranger. I have also learned it is a choice (for those of us who are fairly mentally healthy). When you are surrounded by negativity and people who never let in light, it can bring you down but you can repell that energy too. All greats acts of human spirit and courage have been choices made to reach for the light. So simple really, but it took me a long time to get here. PS: I am not talking about stupid happy. People who are so disconnected from suffering they don’t see it, but having a broad perspecitive on the human condition and still choosing joy.

  6. Yes.

    My entire outlook changes when I keep to a very strict diet. Which sounds completely bizarre, and you’d better believe it’s hell of bizarre to experience, but it does happen. I turn from my usual melancholy, dramatic, overanalytical self into Miss Happypants.

    I’m on my diet right now. My happiness levels have been increasing. *shrug* It happens. I’d stay on it forever, but it’s just not always possible.

    I’ve also seen this with people and relationships a lot… you’re not supposed to base your happiness on who you are with, but being with the right person and/or ceasing to be with the wrong person can do wonders for someone’s general outlook.

  7. Well, according to various scientific studies, you can try to boost your happiness set point, but it doesn’t really work in a lasting way. So I think not.

    I consider myself (with many squares in my chart) to be doing well if I can keep myself on neutral. Staying neutral is my goal. Not bouncing with glee to be alive on such a beautiful day, but not feeling mopey either. HAPPY! is highly unlikely to be my natural state, but oh well. It’s hard to be HAPPY! when you have the voice of “YOU SUCK!!!!!” going in your head since birth, after all.

    (Yes, I know there is medication for that. Medication scares the crap out of me.)

  8. I’ve done a lot of work on learning to be a happier person, and I have made a lot of progress. I am certainly a MUCH happier person, and a person with strategies that help me secure/feel more happiness. But there is definitely a strain of unhappiness/misery that ebbs and flows.

    Incidentally if I remember the guy who wrote the above song wrote it while he was depressed. He was being sarcastic. He has often spoken about his battles with depression in the press.

  9. ewinbee,

    I think this is a really good and seldom belived point:

    I’ve also seen this with people and relationships a lot… you’re not supposed to base your happiness on who you are with, but being with the right person and/or ceasing to be with the wrong person can do wonders for someone’s general outlook.

    Thanks for saying so.

    In my natural state I’m pretty happy, but I am also deeply affected by life around me. For the sake of some people I love, I hope happiness can be learned. I think to an extent, it is a habit like any other, and a chemical process that your brain gets used to repeating.

  10. I’m not sure if happiness can be learned. I hope so.

    My moon (which i associated with the emotions/moods) is well-aspected, but it is conjunct pluto. My Venus (which i think draws people in or repels them) sextiles Jupiter but is in a t-square… so…. I feel intensely whatever it is…. but rarely do i feel a kind of light breezy smiley happy.

    I often feel “relief” — relief from stress or unhappy states. Now, that is different from happy. Or when i feel happy, i’m always looking out the other side, wondering when it will turn– Ironic, that my first name means “happy” or “exaltation”

    Yep, Venus square Saturn here and Virgo Moon….

  11. I’m a moody fuck. when I’m in full swing one way or the other it’s hard for me to manipulate my mood. but when I’m on the way up or down I can usually bring myself into balance consciously.

    I’ve had literally no success, however, in changing the fact that I’m a moody fuck.

    my fex told me my song was a sting song: “no long term predictions for my baby; she can be all four seasons in one day.” it used to piss me off.

  12. “Learned” … ya know, I really don’t know. I’d be surprised if someone hasn’t tried to research this, but I am too lazy to do a search.

    I know that a miserably unhappy person can become blissful in an instant through a spiritual awakening, and (for many)reasonably happy within a few weeks, given a prescription for SSRI’s.

    As I have gotten older I have learned that I do not care so much about ‘happy’ per se, but ‘serene’ is fine with me, and [definitely], chronically depressed sux and can be helped in one way or another.

    But whatever that luck thing that allows you to be happy through it all, Elsa, I seem to share that, most of the time. Given the background that I came from, that would blow a lot of the shrinks theories all to hell.

  13. I have to fight off depression and work at being happy, but it does work. I use to try and hide in drugs and alcohol, but then I had kids, so now I hide in them sometimes. Feeling out of sorts, let’s go to the park and swing…it’s hard to be sad while you are swinging!

  14. The same for me, I really don’t care too much about being happy, as long as I am at peace and able to help others to be at peace too. When it comes to moods, I love tears the same than laughters, because they are expressions of our soul. I also had the opportunity to look behind many shiny happy facades and wouldn’t trade an instant of my life for what I saw.
    I don’t think we can learn or be trained to be happy, but we can learn to be grateful.

  15. Yes. My Mom did, so I fully believe it. When she met my SO 6 years ago she took a real shine to him and then with a big smile said ‘I cried every day for the first 60 years of my life.’

    She is happy now. Really, genuinely happy, and she worked at it, and she made a Herculean effort.
    I’m sure teaching herself how to orgasm when she was 62 helped, too! 🙂

  16. >>There are a lot of happy people on this blog, it’s just the general theme and mood of the comments and entries, which just confirms that like attracts like.>>

    Charlotte, I think that is a valid observation but want to add that I get a fair amount of mail from people who are (or have been) depressed or suffering. They don’t tend to comment but they are out there and by God, they are welcome.

    It is not that uncommon a person lurk for a year or even 2 or 3 and then send me an email or surface with a comment so at least in some cases – “all boats rise”

  17. yes. it helps to be able to determine what actually makes you happy as opposed to what you’ve been told (implicitly or explicitly) what should make you happy.

  18. Charlotte I for one am very glad that you’re here commenting on this blog. When I read ‘I don’t think happiness is for me’ I wondered why you think/don’t think this?

    I’m sorry to pry, but as a person who has (for the most part) overcome depression I feel quite hopeful that other people can, as well ( I remember crying inexplicably on the school bus as young as 10). Is that, er, annoying? Ha ha…
    I do have my bouts of depression and when I do it’s quite serious.
    My meditation teacher taught me to wake up and before I make any moves into the day, make a list of everything I was grateful for. Sometimes it is pathetic:

    “I’m glad there is cream for coffee. That’s all.”

    I tried drugs and they made me feel insane. So I stopped. But I found I could give myself ‘crying days’ and that helped. regulated indulgence in my sadness time.

  19. Okay. I have been thinking about this obsessively for the last few weeks because I am wrestling with my own unhappiness. It can’t be answered

    There are a lot of happy people on this blog, it’s just the general theme and mood of the comments and entries, which just confirms that like attracts like. It’s my opinion that while unhappy people can find happiness they will always have an unhappy outlook. Of course this applies both ways. Happiness for unhappy people is a choice that must be made, worked at, striven for, struggled towards, whereas for the inherently happy, it comes easier. Like Jennifer said, I read some articles on that happiness theory. Some people’s “happy point” is just lower than others. I imagine those people have a lot of harsh Saturn aspects. Like myself, I don’t think happiness is for me.

    Happy people can’t really understand how an unhappy person sees the world because they both think the other is deluded or just weird. They both look at each other and think “What’s the matter with you? Can’t you just…”

    Hmm, maybe none of that made sense. Sorry.

  20. This is a great blog! So many excellent comments! ewinbee- i have not heard anyone else use the word Happypants, it is part of our family lexicon. That and Grumpypants or Grumpybum. satori- I am a moody fuck too! I do not stay down in the dumps for long though. that’s Mr. Happypants to you.hahahaha

  21. You know, as I said before, it’s so easy to think that “you” are all alone. Everyone else is happy, everyone else has a perfect life. We don’t need to have a big pity party, but it is reassuring to know that I am not the only person whose moods come and go like the clouds in the sky.

    I don’t know if anyone can learn to be happy (as in change and be happy all of the time), but I think a person can definitely learn the self- discipline to not give in and to work on changing the way that they think and as Kashmiri said, look for things to be grateful for, however small.

  22. I find this topic to have a perfect timing with what I’m goin trough right now.
    I’m 29 and I’ve always been kind of depressed; I did a lot of things and I travelled a lot, I did meet happy people (I lived in Hawaii for more than a jear). Troughout my whole life I tried every possible way to keep my negativity in control. Even if I had plenty of happy prospective, my natural attitude would always be focussing on pain, holding on to bad feelings, and sometimes seeing other people as mean. I was always aware that happy people were not just luky and blessed from life, they just had a better reaction dealing with it. As a matter effect I happened to be unhappy also when good tings where happening to me.
    I live in Italy: few weeks ago an heartquake killed almost 300 people; thousends of people losts theyr hauses and are now in tents, living with forner people.
    After the collective sadness, the joy of being alive takes over.
    A tv reporter interviewed kids and very old people that have lost everything they ever had: the kids are so happy to be able to be playng on open spaces all the time, and just being with people all the time ( in stead ow watching tv or playng play-station). The old people basically had the same responce, they do not miss tv and they enjoy playng cards, having new friends and being able to say hallo to just about everybody. They are all the same now, no posession or social position to protect.
    I keep on asking myself…”what if I just had nothing?” what if the straggle of living would collaps like an old house during an heartquake in the middle of the night, and when you wake up it’s just not there anymore?!

  23. Getting a bit cheerful as I get older, despite all my (natural?) cynicism…No one would ever mistake me for a Sagittarius though, never ever. Plutonian with a little Leo light here. Maybe this is why I wind up with Sag folks in my life. We are drawn to each other despite the differences…

  24. yes, I think you can learn to be happy. I find I’m happier when I just relax. I find that I hold a lot of tension in my body, in my jaw and other places. My dentist wanted me to get a night guard, and I realized it wasn’t at night I was gritting my teeth!

    when your body is more relaxed you can see/feel/hear the beautiful things around you more easily. your mind relaxes when your body does. Course that’s me with my mars in the 5th house talking

  25. I’d say happiness is an inside job.

    It’s certainly hard to monitor my thoughts, but it’s easy to put a smile on my face. Regardless. Just because. And before I know it, I feel better. I’m less afraid. My thinking is clearer. And – this is a bonus – people respond to me better. Strangers *talk* to me. For no reason. Big difference.

  26. With Moon conjunct Saturn I’ve often been told that I am negative and I don’t expect my outlook to change. For one thing, if you ever caught me being a “smiling, happy person” and called me on it, I’d probably just deny it for spite (7th house Uranus/Pluto conjunction). I’m comfortable in my restrained, often cynical skin. Doesn’t mean I’m never happy or often miserable either. What really irks me is when people go out of their way to exude some kind of happy, positive image that comes off fake. I feel like they’re the ones who are brain-damaged.

  27. There is definitely a grinning type person out there and they are real. I never noticed this in my life until he pointed it out but boy once he pointed it out…

    People with dimples are often happy. I have no idea why this is.

    In my case, I can definitely go on a brood and have seen pictures of myself, candid, caught brooding or being reflective and they shocked me. But I am still without a doubt, a happy type. It’s Jupiter in my chart. It’s the unsinkable Molly Brown quality and even when down, I cheer right up as soon as I start swearing / expressing myself, getting things flowing.

  28. So interesting to read what I wrote two years ago. I was in the middle of some serious s**t back then. A psychic told me once that I got put in a hole (circumstances/birth) but I can choose to pull myself up out of it. Never forgot that.

  29. Yes, there are the genuinely happy people who are great to be around because unrealistic expectations are not there. If you’re a nervous wreck before your wedding, for example, they don’t get exasperated because it’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life. In truth it was for me, but if it’s at a level buried beneath nervous and isn’t overtly expressed like in your face kind of way, really happy people just know it’s there and don’t measure the size of the package (or grin).

    Again, it’s the self-help guru and/or extreme denial types that set me on edge, because they’re the ones who seem to compulsively dictate how others should look and act when they are genuinely happy.

    With Moon/Saturn & Venus in Virgo, I was not going to be the bride that lights up the entire church while leisurely strolling center stage. No matter how happy I was, I still had problems keeping the bouquet still with my hands shaking and I couldn’t get off center-stage quick enough.

    Wow, I’m obviously carrying baggage on this topic, but that doesn’t stop me from saying, I love people with dimples, their faces are made for lots of smiles!

  30. Definately a happy person.

    1) Aries Sun
    2) Extremely negative Mother (swore my whole childhood, I would never end up like that)
    3) Pluto as my chart ruler- Like Elsa said, ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’ – been there, done that, started over, survived- bring it on- I ‘know I can handle’.
    4) Neptune in the 1st – I can overlook a lot.
    4) I HAVE DIMPLES!

    It does sometimes amaze me how some people can think the ‘sky is falling’ over the minorist (is that a word?) things… and I see other people that manage to overcome what appears to be impossible odds (with a smile on their face)- so, maybe it’s also perspective…

    Not to say I haven’t had gloomy times- but, they just don’t seem to last long before I dig up some kind of escape route. Maybe I’m too busy plotting to get sad/depressed.

    Please don’t misunderstand… I don’t think that people who are depressed are weak in anyway, or bring it on themselves- I just think I’m lucky and am extremely greatful!

  31. Are you happy? Do you think a (basically) unhappy person can learn to be happy?

    Well yes, I have been evolving from being an unhappy, negative person to being more centered, content, enjoying the every moment.

    I grew up around a lot of negativity, anger, blame, physical, emotional violence on and on. Passed on down thru the generations. Although there was a influential portion of them that were upbeat wagon trainers, entrepreneurs, vaudeville actors, inventors and so on that have helped. But what can I say, lots of heavy squares and challanges in my chart. And have been thrusome very dark nights of the soul.

    And now, finally, I can just allow myself to float in the present moment, taking in the sights, sounds, sensations, whatever, and feel seduced by all the sensuality around me. Granted, that by choice I don’t live in a city, which I know would overwhelm my sense of peace.

    But anyway, to conclude, and to paraphrase a few of the “Happiness gurus”, happiness is not something I feel I have to earn anymore, it is my birthright and natural state that finally I am just learning to gracefully tap and fall into.

  32. I think I have always known how to be happy, but I’ve had it suppressed many times (Saturn conj. Moon). Not only am I learning how to stay happy, I’m learning to be joyful. 🙂

  33. i have.
    a lot of it, i’ve found, has to do with the people around me. i was a really happy kid, until i started school. then i had to adjust to society of small humans…

    but, yes, focusing more of my time around people who avoid negativity has done wonders. of course, i had to start rooting it out in myself as well to do any good.
    i also have pluto in libra. it might factor in.

    i mean, i have venus/saturn venus/8th too… slightly different pattern.

  34. Fuck Yah! I used to be a self lother… now I find joy everywhere I look. It can happen if you want it bad enough to clear cut the shit. 🙂
    Love.

  35. “The AMF vacillated between envying “happy people” and thinking we might be something akin to brain-damaged”

    Wow, I’ve actually said something pretty much exactly like that, it feels f*cked up to actually say that, but I can’t help how I feel. That being said, its definitely possible for a person to learn to be a happy, but it’ll probably take more work for some than others. KInd of like losing weight. Which I guess would mean that some people, no matter how hard they try, just can’t be that happy. Hmmm…this has got me really thinking now..

  36. {{{{Jennifer}}}} I feel you. I do. I call that voice in my head that says “YOU SUCK” the Ene-Me – the one who only sees the pain and sorrow and the fuck ups that landed me wherever I am.

    I stifled that bitch for a long time, found a neutral ground on the side of happy. That said, now and then, she still manages to rear her head and let me know that she still thinks I suck. And for what it’s worth, I *am* on medication. lol

    …still reading comments…

  37. Okay, now I’m caught up, and just realized this post is from long time ago! I wasn’t always so good about checking in every morning.

    Outwardly, I am one of those people who appears to be happy. I’m always joking, I’ve got a smile for almost everyone I see, I can talk to any kind of person out there as I encounter them.

    But there are times that I just feel like shit. And when that happens, the best thing for me to do it Go To Work. As in, don my apron, load it with pens and tickets, and get out there where my job is to be happy and make the customers happy. Couple of days of work, and I’m pretty close to back to myself.

  38. It’s depends on what constitutes happiness for each person, and that changes over time and also is very different for each of us. I really do NOT think you can make hard and fast rules about such things; who knows what each part of others’ experience can be set aside, discounted or used positively at any given moment?

    Some of us feel the world’s injustices very deeply, some not at all. It’s the same with ‘individual pain’ if I might so describe it…

    … for some of us a miserable childhood is impossible to throw off, while for others it’s just a spur to make it on their own, and the effects easily discarded from the psyche. For some a handicap is no bar to a fulfilled life, while for others the restrictions of a handicap and the way it dictates the reactions of other people to the person you are, is a constant source of pain and frustration.

    Yes it’s possible to wake each day and to be thankful for small pleasures; but is this happiness? Or is it just ‘learned contentment’? – not the same thing at all… How easily contented SHOULD we be, come to that? I’m not easily contented – I’ve experienced moments of huge joy, lived in beautiful places, enjoyed profound friendships and loves. read much great literature and seen many great paintings, attended some great horse races… But when those things slide away, I feel the loss keenly – and daily. When my health is very poor, as it was for about 5/6 years fairly recently, I can’t be happy.

    I also feel keenly the pain of others (for example I’m very troubled right now by the mental state of my friend who lost her husband so young, shortly after her beloved stepfather, and now her lovely mother has been diagnosed with leukemia: what’s to feel happy about, when I can do nothing to help her?

    The ‘black dog’ of depression is never far away for those of us who feel life is indeed ‘nasty, brutish and short’ (to quote Shakespeare); and there’s a reason imo why that great playwright called the jolly man ‘the Fool’!

    For myself, I’m always seeking moments of joy – a meal, a flower, a view with a rainbow, a great film, a good book, a drink with friends, and best of all a night of love – but lasting happiness has never seemed very realistic to me (or should I say, for me?)

  39. For lifelong depressives, I think tolerable neutrality may be a more realistic and attainable aspiration than the natural bubbly happiness some have as a default setting.

  40. 12th house Double Virgo with Venus in Scorpio. I was always a happy person when I was younger.I became more serious of late when my heart and bank account were broken by a Scorpio. Having my North node in Leo I think gives me a natural buoyancy to keep my heart open to family and friends I know who truly like and appreciate me and remind me everyday how loved I am by them. I also keep in touch with my inner child and it comes out to play a lot. Eventually my giggles can’t be suppressed
    I still am a bit of a worry wart but only when it comes to money/security and only when I dont have it.
    I also tend to jump back up and laughingly spit in the eye of anything that knocks me down.

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