Quality of Life: Not Necessarily Happiness
Everyone on this world aspires to achieve quality of life, a socio-political goal every nation attempts to achieve for its citizens. The concept is used usually to describe happiness, on which the so-called indicators or components of quality of life are utilized to measure happiness and even success. However, in this blogpost these two concepts will be differentiated as it seeks to enumerate the descriptions of quality of life and how it varies from happiness.
Living longer and maintaining good health
The physical well-being is perhaps one of the most influential aspect of the life of an individual. Suffering from ailments hinders one to achieve one's potential to do what he or she likes or needs. However, studies would indicate that being healthy does not guarantee one to be happy, as happiness is affected by different factors. Moreover, there exists sick people, who tends to claim that they are happy and contented inspite of their disabilities.
Self-sufficiency and financial equilibrium
Money ofcourse could aid one to get one needs and wants. Poverty is one of the greatest challenges in the world today. Ofcourse, when one is hungry, thirsty and poor, that itself could stand in opposition to achieving optimum happiness. Emotional and mental stability are also linked to financial stability, so it is quite true that if one has less in life, he or she may not fully be happy. However, the corollary is not automatic, being rich as well is not an indicator of happiness. Many billionaires spend money just for the sake of it, not because it gives them happiness, fulfillment and meaning.
Getting equal opportunities for self-improvement
This is the hardest to achieve due to disparity in resource distribution. The social differences run across race, gender, belief and social status, such that these have a significant effect in the attainment of this goal. Progressive ideas pertaining to resource distribution is seen as a threat to either democracy, commerce and even human rights. Some countries have made better progress in this area, which would mean people are being heard, taken cared for and at least appreciated by giving them opportunities. Although, this is the most compex social indicator of quality of life, being appreciated and seen as a co-equal with others contributes for one to be happy. This is because is a question of existence and not of standards.
Finding meaning in the work one does
This is perhaps the oldest philosophy on employment. Work should make people see their purpose and fulfill through the job they do. Ofcourse, finding meaning is a good sign for happiness. In whatever means one finds meaning, whether at work or the things he or she does, one becomes happy. However, quality of life sometimes is seen as a whole, making a direct correlation betweeen employment and quality of life, postulating that the more employed individuals, the better quality of life the people on a specific area has. This is not quite true, because happiness is about meaning, not necessarily about paid employment.
Freedom of expression and practice of belief
To say without being fear of ridicule and unjust judgment is something quite similar aspects of quality of life and happiness. To fear of doing what one likes is a big component of happiness. To be restrained is something no one likes. However, freedom of expression can not be discussed without going into politics, and even religion and ideologies. This is where happiness and quality of life separate. To belong in a restrictive religion does not automatically mean one is unhappy. It may afect his or her belief and the percetion of happiness, but no one gets happy right away just because one is free to do what he or she likes to do. There are no guarantees.
To live in a safe, nurturing environment
The issues on climate change and rising criminality are two important issues that has an effect on quality of life. Ofcourse, safety is of utmost priority. However, quality of life measurements focus merely on the external safety. It does not provide a mechanism to delve deeper on the safety on the personal and internal level. That is what matters in happiness. One may live safely within the four corners of a big house, located in a safe and peaceful urban area, but that does not mean right away that ome attains peace of mind. There is a saying, it is easier to build a house, than a functioning home.
To belong in a group or the society in general
Belongingness is something related to the establishment of norms and practices. This is hardly measured in the concept of quality of life, although this is a crucial component. This is also moreover relevant on the elaboration of what makes one happy. However, the same social norms hinder at times people on what they like to do. There is not always congruence between what the society thinks is right, and what the person believes to make him or her happy. Sometimes, solitude could provide happiness, but clearly the need to be with others is not just a privilege, but a basic human need.
Lastly, happiness does not require something. There are no standards or fixed. It can not be even measured. It is simply a decision for an individual to take everyday. Happiness is somewhat easier to attain than quality of life. As enumerated, quality of life is almost impossible because of its complexity. One component could hinder the other, such that one needs to prioritize and choose among two equally-important components. However, happiness itself, although easier as described, is not as easy as it seems. It remains to be elusive. Many are in constant struggle to find happiness, but end up successful. These people end up meeting all the indicators of quality of life, but then happiness is still lacking. Complicated- these two concepts are, but it is crucial to see where they differ from each other.
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