What makes us happy as human beings? Our consumer culture tells us that its the acquisition of stuff. The hedonists believe that it is the satisfaction of desire. Many people believe that happiness comes from having power and control to satisfy one's will. However, more careful observation might lead one to conclude than stuff only encumber, satisfaction of desire leads to depression afterwards, and power and control ends in frustration in oneself and receiving resentment and hatred from others. True happiness, it seems, is paradoxical in the sense that true happiness comes from voluntary poverty and simplification, of moderating the satisfaction of one's desires, and from refraining from having power and control over others, but focusing instead on managing one's own emotional, social, and spiritual life.
What seems to make people truly happy is the utilization of one's talents and abilities in ways that the person finds satisfying and fulfilling, and the ability to pursue one's interests in ways that the person finds rewarding. In using our talents and abilities, we are giving to others and to the world something that is of value to ourselves and to the world.
The old adage is that it is in giving than we receive; it is in teaching that we learn; it is in loving that we are loved. As it is said, "To have a friend, be a friend." It is in the interconnectivity of life that we find happinesss; in the realization that what I do, and think, and feel has profound effects on the world. One for all and all for one. We are a part of something that involves more than our own ego, and when we reflect on this, contribute to this, become engaged with this, we become truly happy. Happiness comes from being aware with compassion, reverence, and gratitude that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves, something awesome, miraculous, and undescribable. Some people might call that awareness ecstacy.