Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happiness: The Pursuit

I live a simple life. It is meaningful and I love it, but it is simple. It is full of obligation, sacrifice and compromise. I think that's why it gets me so frustrated to hear people always talk about searching for their "happiness". When I imagine what my life would be like if I were only interested in the pursuit of my own happiness, it in no way includes doing the dishes or enduring little people screaming at me.

What about selflessness? Do we value that? Can we pursue that? What about duty, charity, or love? And I don't mean the fluffy, "he loves EVERYTHING about me", because-it-feels-good love. I mean the real, "you could lose all your limbs in a car wreck today and I wouldn't think twice about taking care of you for the rest of my life" kind. The "I refuse to talk bad about you to my family, even when I think you're ruining my life" kind of love. 

In what other age could we so freely dismiss the effort included in relationships and the honor of hard work? No wonder drugs are a prevalent part of our society. Pursuit of happiness? Done. The argument I'm trying to make is that constantly pursuing your own happiness is probably the best way to ensure that you won't be happy. Heartbreak, obligation, and just plain ol' "hard stuff" is just a part of life. Imagine the constant disappointment if your whole existence is about trying to avoid the inevitable.

I'm not saying, "don't be happy". I'm not saying, "endure abuse" or "don't follow your dreams". I'm just saying that we would probably all be a little better off if we were a little more grateful. If we were a little more patient. If we focused on making someone else's day a little happier.

Are we setting our children up for failure by letting them believe that they NEED to be happy all the time? That things always have to be fair? That they will always end up on top? Yes, you will have a lot of moments of happiness. You will also spend a lot of your life failing and doing things you don't want to do and that is OKAY. We all go through it. Hard times pass, just like that feeling of happiness. At the end of the day, are we at peace with who we have become because of it all and who we helped along the way? If I only teach my children one thing, I hope that it is to be happy doing hard things. Be grateful. Be helpful. Be kind. And happiness will find you.

Now, I'll scoot my soap box back under the table.

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