What Does It Take To Be Truly Happy ?
Ask 10 different people this question and you will probably get 10 different answers. Why does everyone seem to have a different version of what defines happiness ? Success Guru’s make millions selling books and giving seminars to those in search of happiness or success. Are success and happiness one and the same ? Let us compare the definitions of each.
state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy
Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. A variety of philosophical, religious, psychological and biological approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.
an event that accomplishes its intended purpose; "let's call heads a success and tails a failure"; "the election was a remarkable success for the ... an attainment that is successful; "his success in the marathon was unexpected"; "his new play was a great success" a state of prosperity or fame; "he is enjoying great success"; "he does not consider wealth synonymous with success" achiever: a person with a record of successes; "his son would never be the achiever that his father was"; "only winners need apply"; "if you want to be a success you have to dress like a success"
These are definitions I found on the web. Apparently happiness is a state of mind that makes us feel good. That would explain why so many become addicted to alcohol ,drugs, gambling and sex because all those things can make us feel good temporarily. The addiction comes from continually searching for that state of mind and not being able to sustain it. Thus addicts keep trying. Success is an event or action that accomplishes its intended purpose. That in itself does not make us happy. That would explain why so many people that we perceive to be successful can in reality be terribly unhappy. Examples would be Elvis Presley , Michael Jackson etc. Amazing success and unlimited money but not happy and addicted to drugs to sustain some sense of well being.
Now , what does it take to be truly happy . It doesn’t appear to be success and money. You see happiness is a state of mind. Perhaps too much money and too much success is more than some minds can handle. Perhaps there is too much pressure and just too much for some people to deal with. As individuals we are all different and happiness can mean different things to different people. Perhaps we put too much importance on how society defines happiness and success instead of looking inward and deciding what we really want from life for ourselves.
These are complex questions and I make no claim to having the answers but I do have an opinion and I will try to express it here as best I can. My article last month tried to explain the value of time and the wisdom I have acquired during a lifetime of taking time for granted and the importance I now place on time. My goal with this article is to try and apply that same wisdom to the complexity surrounding trying to be happy in this day and age. Why are so many of us struggling to be happy ? Is it because we are bombarded with bad news. The crisis facing the Catholic church would be an example. So much pain and disappointment for so many long time believers. So much of the unhappiness prevalent today can be summed up as a monumental loss of faith. Churches are closing in most denominations here in Canada . All we hear politically is nothing to be admired or certainly nothing to inspire faith in our political system. We are all seeing our weather change and I have to wonder if Mother Earth hasn’t decided to fight back and rid herself of this parasite called man. Man was meant to be a partner with Mother Earth in order to sustain life for all of God’s creatures. I do not believe we have lived up to our responsibilities or the covenant that comes with being the planets supposedly most intelligent life form. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and clouds of ash paralyzing air transport around the world. Perhaps it is time our world leaders put sustaining life ahead of gaining an economic advantage in our competitive world. I ask you who is going to be looking for a job on a planet that no longer supports life ?
We have some problems yes. Do we have reasons to be anxious ? Yes ! Is it hard to be happy and content in our world today ? Yes , of course it is . Remember happiness is a state of mind . The point I have been trying to make is that happiness can not be found by looking outward. The world today is too confusing. The more you look outward the more confused you will become. The secret to happiness is within you. That secret is as old as mankind. This is not meant to be a religious article but so much of sustaining happiness through your life has to be based in faith. Here I want to quote from Christ
Luke chapter 17 versus 20 and 21
Once having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come Jesus replied “ The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation .” Nor will people say “Here it is” or “There it is” Because the Kingdom of God is within you.”
Now you may not believe that Christ is the Son of God or your personal Savior but most people do accept He was a very wise and good man who lived many years ago. Thus the wisdom of his words are hard to ignore.
You see my article on Time was meant to emphasize the fact that you will find more peace and contentment. More happiness spending time with the people you love and care for than you will ever find seeking fame and success out in the world. No it is not wrong to seek fame and success. I worked to build my business to help my family. As long as your goal is to better those you love and not a selfish goal there is nothing wrong with striving for success. Your success should never be at the expense of those you love. The key to happiness is balance. Always remember you can not control how some one you love chooses to live their life. The only life you truly control is your own. Strive to maintain the balance it takes to be happy and successful and have faith in God whatever you conceive Him or Her to be. Find peace and happiness with those you love and remember do not judge God by what people do. Judge God by what you do for God lives within you and all have sinned and come short of God’s glory and that includes priests and politicians. In my humble opinion faith is the key to happiness and that key is buried deeply within your own heart. Sometimes so deeply that only God’s light can help you find it. Thank you for reading my article and may God’s light shine in your life as it has shined for this sometimes unfaithful man even when I wasn’t looking. Even when I wasn’t believing. Even when I had given up. Even when I was bitter and didn’t care.
Even when I thought I knew it all and didn’t need anyone. Even when I stopped praying.
His light never dimmed. Never went out. His love was always there. His help was always there. All I ever had to do was believe, have faith and ask Him for help. He has even helped me when I was angry and too stubborn to ask Him. He helped me anyway. Perhaps my next article I will tell you that story.
Remember April Showers Bring May Flowers
Larry Matthews April 18th 2010