Focus on Happiness

The press has been reporting lately that we’re making a mistake focusing too much attention on happiness. It’s not in our best interest to direct most of our money, time, and energy to being happy. Personally, I tend to dig in my heels when someone else, especially the media, tells me what (or how) I should feel. Even if we belong to a group labeled ‘senior citizens’ or ‘aged,’ we’re all different, and our creation and experience of happiness is also different.

Personally ….

I have found a different kind of happiness as I’ve aged. It’s less exciting but more satisfying in a quiet and comforting way. It feels good to know I don’t have to get riled up to have fun or to express myself or to be in awe. Simple things provide an immense amount of pleasure and challenge. While I may not want to downhill ski anymore, I’ll be happy enthusiastically listening to your experiences and by providing comfort (should you face plant during a downhill run — ha!). And I’ll watch while you enjoy yourself. I’m happy doing that.

Getting There

The pursuit of happiness isn’t a destination; it’s a state of mind. This pursuit is the letting out of something that is already in you. It’s easy to forget that happiness is an option – a tool – that we can use to lighten our load, momentarily or in the longer run. And no matter how dire things may seem, there is always a sliver of humor that can uplift us.

Remember those babies cracking up on YouTube videos? When did we stop laughing like that? The joy inside is still there. Don’t let anyone or anything rob you of that deep joy.

Our constitution promises us:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Most people tend to think of happiness as a goal that one day they’ll activate. They perceive it as a destination that you arrive at AFTER you’ve accomplished one or more goals like the following: lost weight, got the guy, won the lottery, finished school, got your house, got cured of a disease, and got everyone to like/admire/be envious of you.

Attaching our joy to the end results of any or all these things keeps us thinking happiness is a future event.

Happiness vs. Joy

Happiness is temporary; joy is permanent. Happiness can be fleeting (like winning the lottery) vs. joy which is everlasting (like finding a life partner); it’s what makes the heart sing. Are you willing to give up short term pleasure to get your long-term success of working to be healthy or to complete that project you began years ago, for instance?

Decide for yourself to seek that which satisfies you. Sometimes that’s happiness and sometimes it’s joy. There is no power greater than the power of a made-up mind. The key here being that it’s your choice, not some dictate from a faceless prophet.

It’s Okay That It’s All About You

Don’t forget to find joy where you are. It doesn’t have to be with someone else, or only while on vacation, or in the delights of a loving family. You have all the power. Your heart’s desires are your greatest assets. They should never be ignored or minimized by someone else. Stop accepting less than what your soul wants.

Finally, a Couple of Questions

Are you being kind to yourself? Are you identifying and honoring the happiness that exists in your immediate realm? Are you letting others define the happiness and joy you should seek?

It’s all up to you.