Family Photos and Meaning

Dear Friends,

Take a look around your house, apartment, or dorm room, and look at the photographs you have on display. Now think of your friends, relatives, anyone, and reflect upon what types of photos that they have in their homes. We bet that there are a lot of family photos, especially photos of children as they have grown. This week we are spotlighting a photo from 草 冰 entitled FAMILY which to us captures the notion of meaning and purpose which can be attributed to becoming a parent or member of a family:

Family by 草 冰

According to The Blue Zones, an organization which amasses research findings from the world’s longest and healthiest lived people, people who were asked what was the greatest aspect of their lives said that family and especially their children were the most meaningful thing in their lives. The Blue Zones also points to the importance of community and keeping family close for a life well lived.

However, according to subjective well-being research, most people experience a decline in their happiness when they have children. The Atlantic investigates this topic in their article “What Becoming a Parent Really Does to Your Happiness”.

It is not pretty: having children is stressful, it depletes your bank account, it strains even the best marriages. 

So what to make of this? Perhaps momentary happiness really is not very important and what really matters is the meaning and purpose that we attach to our lives?

It should not surprise us that community and parenting are perhaps the most meaningful part of our lives because we are, after all, intrinsically social creatures. Pursuing meaning and purpose leads to deep happiness in spite of the fact that we often sacrifice momentary pleasure in place of long term deep satisfaction.

With all of this in mind, please send us photos of your family or a community which provides meaning in your life.

And a quick reminder about the World Happiness Photo Contest – submissions are accepted until November 15th at: https://www.happinessstrategyfoundation.org/contest

We hope you have a fantastic week,

The SeeingHappy Team

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