The Happiness word – it’s all around us. Tons of happiness books, articles, even an Oprah show on it this week.
We as a society seem to think if we have more, get more, buy more, we’ll get to that point where we can say we’re happy. But we become bottomless pits. It’s never enough and happiness becomes fleeting and elusive. Then we need another ‘fix’ to create that state of happiness.
Perhaps we’re looking in all the wrong places. Is it really about what we can get out there?
We are all aware of the high number of teenagers who suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicidal tendencies. And yet we continue to ‘feed’ our kids with things in the hopes of making them happy. I refer you to a very powerful and provocative documentary on this topic called Lucky Ducks, by Tracey Jackson.
Is it about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
It’s about the rainbow itself with all its colors; the dark ones as well as the bright ones; the tough times in our lives as well as the good times.
Someone recently sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal titled, “Is Happiness Overrated?” For me it said it all in one new phrase- “eudaimonic well-being” – engaging in meaningful activity and living with a sense of purpose. It’s about fulfillment and satisfaction.
A sense of purpose, a sense of meaning, can keep one going even throughout the rough times. When we’re connected to our sense of why, we can plow through our ‘whats’ and ‘hows’. And we can even seek to infuse moments of joy and pleasure throughout.
I can honestly say that being by my daughter’s side during her 9 month recovery, proved to be one of the richest and most meaningful times in my life. Yet it certainly wasn’t a happy time.
There were tremendous feelings of relief, joy and pride which flowed out in tears. They took turns with the tears of sadness and grief for what she had to endure.
The bad is all part of the rich tapestry of our lives. It’s what we do with it, what we learn from it, how we integrate it into our lives so that we can manage it and create good from it. That can bring ‘positiveness’ and create lasting feelings of satisfaction.
We weave through it all, allowing ourselves to feel and experience. Hopefully we can even train ourselves to look behind the clouds and fill ourselves with the [hidden] rays of sun.
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