One of the primary indicators of genuine happiness is stability.
The stronger your real & perceived sense of stability – a combination of emotional stability and functional stability (physical health stability, professional, financial, social stability, etc) – the greater your capacity for lasting happiness.
Happiness without stability (real & perceived stability) is a transient, conditional feeling based on the experience of pleasure. One could call that state “feeling happy”, as in they feel happy in the current situation or under current conditions, but it would be inappropriate to define that mere feeling state as actually ‘being’ happy, as in being a happy person.
Thus, the primary difference in being able to genuinely and correctly say “I AM happy”, as opposed to “I FEEL happy”, is stability.
Stability allows people to genuinely declare “I am happy” even when conditions are bad and they’re not feeling particularly happy in that moment.
If you focus on conscious stability (including emotional and functional stability) then genuine happiness is more likely follow, assuming that’s your intention. If you disregard stability and only seek emotional happiness by way of conditional pleasure, you will only ‘feel’ happy under certain conditions, and that feeling will be relatively short-lived and ultimately inauthentic.
When you’re truly happy, tough situations and bad conditions aren’t all that bad – the intensity of negative experience is less, and the negative emotional effects are less. Simply put, when you’re not a genuinely happy person, the more you’ll feel bad when conditions are bad.
When you’re genuinely happy, situational conditions don’t matter all that much, whereas when you’re not actually happy you can only feel happiness when ‘good’ conditions are making you happy.
Stability is the most critcal element of true happiness. It is the defining aspect of being happy rather than simply feeling happy – it distinguishes happiness from hedonic pleasure. The continuous application of conscious stability, coupled with intentional healthful action, is the path to establishing genuine, sustainable happiness.