(Photo credit: Juliane Evans)
Do what makes you happy.
“I just want to be happy.”
How often have we heard these sort of things? How often do we try to find happiness and joy in life? Isn’t that what life is all about? There’s a truth I’ve come to know, and yet, I have to remind myself of it pretty regularly. Happiness is not a destination. There is no place, no plateau where you can arrive, when you will be able to say, “Yep, now I’ve arrived at Happiness.” That place just doesn’t exist.
Why? Because, like any other human emotion (sadness, anger, accomplishment, pleasure, etc) it is a moment of happiness. We experience moments of happiness, and times of joy. It is not a state of being that is able to be stretched out 24/7. Take candy, for example. Suppose you love candy, and you decide this is what makes you happy. If you ate candy every day, two or three times, eventually you would get sick of it. Yes, candy made you happy, but indulge in that too much, and you will find it won’t please you as it once did. Or take travel; suppose it is travelling that just makes you excited and happy. If you decided to solely travel for the rest of your life, eventually you would find that the newness, the thrill would begin to fade, and travelling may bot hold the same joy that it once did.
Now, that’s not to say that happiness isn’t important, or that you can never be truly happy. Happiness can be found every day. It’s all around you, even now. But so often, I’ve heard of and watched people chase after happiness, only to find themselves never satisfied, because they can’t see what’s right in front of them. People who are unhappy in their relationship decide that having an affair is what will make them happy, because this other person is so nice, so fun, whatever. Then, later, after the breakup or the guilt or time has passed, they realize the person they had an affair with was just a human being, and can’t make them happy every single day either. Or a friendship; you could have the best, closest, funnest friendship with someone, but you have to know that at some point, you may be disappointed in them, let down, have an argument or disagreement, or whatever, because no one is perfect. Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the friendship, and love that person. But you have to know that your happiness doesn’t come from that person.
Happiness does not come from the things that we can acquire, or do, or hold. Happiness comes from within ourselves. Happiness comes from our appreciation and enjoyment of life, of people, of experiences. Life is a journey, with many experiences along the way, some good, some bad, and some ugly. Yet there are lessons to be had in every experience, and potential knowledge, and growth. If you’re always straining towards “Well, I just need that one job, that’ll make me happy,” or “If I could just have that one woman, I know she would make me happy,” or “I just need to move. When I move, I’ll be away from all these people, and I’ll be happy,” how can you enjoy what’s around you today?