Quotes About Happiness


One friend in a life-time is much; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.
Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918) – The Education of Henry Adams, Ch. 20, 1907

The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) – Quoted in Hugs for Girlfriends by Philis Boultinghouse and LeAnn Weiss p7, but there appears to be no published sources for this statement prior to 2001.

True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) – The Spectator (1711-12), No. 15, March 17, 1711.

Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn;
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) – “The Campaign,” 1704, line 102.

Happiness is a perfume that one cannot shed over another without a few drops falling on oneself.
Anon – but often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but cannot be found in any of his works. See a discussion here: http://www.firstnerve.com/2008/10/happiness-is-perfume.html.

Wealth and poverty do not lie in a man’s estate, but in men’s souls.
Antisthenes (445 BC – 365 BC)- Xenophon, Symposium, iv. 34

Happiness is an expression of the soul in considered actions.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) – Nicomachean Ethics (4th C. B.C.), I.8,Tr. Thompson

Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are highly cultivated in their minds and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) – in Politics

To live happily is an inward power of the soul.
Marcus Aurelius (121-180) – Meditations Book XI, XV

Very little is needed to make a happy life.
Marcus Aurelius (121-180) – Meditations Book VII, 67

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
Marcus Aurelius (121-180) – Quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts, ed. T. Edwards, Cassell Publishing Co., 1891, p. 572

Action is the antidote to despair.
Joan Baez (1941 -) – Rolling Stone, 1983

Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how deeply we pay for its counterfeit.
Hosea Ballou (1771-1852) – Quoted in Hoyt’s Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations, Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1922, p350, sourced as MS, Sermons.

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.
John Barrymore (1882-1942) – Quoted in Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, 2006

In this world, full often, our joys are only the tender shadows which our sorrows cast.
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) – Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1887)

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.
William Blake (1757-1827) – “Eternity” (1793-99)

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness.
Francis Herbert Bradley (1846-1924) – Aphorisms, no. 33 (1930)

Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is an alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmuted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) – The Child Who Never Grew, 1950, Woodbine House Ed, 1992, p.25

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.
George Washington Burnap (1802-1859}- The Sphere and Duties of Woman : A Course of Lectures (1848), Lecture IV – Quote misattributed to Joseph Addison

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) -Camus, A. (2020). Personal Writings. United States: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) – Camus, A. (2012). The Fall. United Kingdom: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, p 80.

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
Willa Cather (1873-1947)– My Antonia, 1918, Book 1, Ch 2.

One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world’s end somewhere, and hold fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.
Willa Cather (1873-1947)  Willa Cather in Europe (1956), Ch. 13 (10 September 1902)

The happiness which we receive from ourselves is greater than that we obtain from our surroundings.
Clement of Alexandria  aka Titus Flavius Clemens (150-215 A.D.)  Strom. II., 21 – Quoted in The Wisdom of Life, by Arthur Schopenhauer, “Division of the Subject,” London, 1890, p.4.

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.
Charles Caleb Colton (1777-1832)  Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Addressed to Those who Think. United Kingdom: Peter Burtsell, 1821, p. 74.

What is earthly happiness? that phantom of which we hear so much, and see so little; whose promises are constantly given and constantly broken, but as constantly believed; that cheats us with the sound instead of the substance, and with the blossom instead of the fruit. Like Juno, she is a goddess in pursuit, but a cloud in possession.
Charles Caleb Colton (1777-1832), Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Addressed to Those who Think. United Kingdom: Peter Burtsell, 1821, p. 74.

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
Willa Cather (1873-1947)  My Ántonia. United States: Houghton Mifflin Company., Book 1, part 2.

Happiness depends, as Nature shows,
Less on exterior things than most suppose.
William Cowper (1731-1800) –  From the poem: Table Talk, Line 246.

Happiness is not an end — it is only a means, and adjunct, a consequence.
Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887) – A Woman’s Thoughts About Women, London: Hurst and Blackett, 1858, p. 256

Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.
Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) – Rebecca, 1938

The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) – Essay “Nature”

Events will take their course, it is no good of being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account.
Euripides (480-406BC) – Bellerophon, Fragment 298; quoted in Plutarch’s Morals : Ethical Essays (1888) edited and translated by Arthur Richard Shilleto, p. 293

Human nature, at its best, had always been based on a deep heroic restlessness, on wanting something–something else, something more, whether it be true love or a glimpse just beyond the horizon. It was the promise of happiness, not the attainment of it, that had driven the entire engine, the folly and glory of who we are.
Will Ferguson Happiness, Penguin Books, 2002

A great obstacle to happiness is to anticipate too great a happiness.
Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757) – Essay on “Happiness”

It is the pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) – Man’s Search for Meaning (1946)

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) – Man’s Search for Meaning (1946)

Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.
Benjamin Franklin (1714-1790) – Letter to Lord Kames, 1786, in Papers, Vol 15, pp. 60-61.

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
Robert Frost – Poem Title – first Published in the Atlantic Monthly, Sept 1938 and is a lyric written in iambic trimeter. Quoted in the Robert Frost Encyclopedia, Nancy Lewis Tuten, John Zubizarreta, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, p. 143.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) – Quoted in Wisdom for the Soul, ed Larry Chang, p353.

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the self-same well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) “On Joy and Sorrow,” The Prophet (1923)

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) “On Joy and Sorrow,” The Prophet (1923)

Sadness flies on the wings of the morning, and out of the darkness comes the light.
Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944) – The Mad Woman of Challot (1945)

The man who is born with a talent which he is meant to use, finds his greatest happiness using it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) – Wilhelm Meister

Happiness is a ball after which we run, wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) – Quoted in Perfect Jewels, a collection of the choicest things in the literature of Life, Love and Religion, Mills, Dodge & Pomeroy, 1886, p. 545.

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