The Declaration of Independence says that we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our founding fathers had great wisdom in forging the document that helped make America into the great country it is today, and these are three elements which mattered then and matter now.
The pursuit of happiness, however, has become an obsession to many and has in many instances muddied the waters for those who are seeking real meaning in their lives. Happiness is fluid. It comes and goes. It is subject to circumstances, feelings, and the consequences of decisions we make. The pursuit of happiness never ends.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Happiness is found in the journey, not the destination. If you are one of those who says, “I will be happy when (you fill in the blank),” you will never find what you seek. In fact, you are missing the blessings that are coming your way every day. You simply have to recognize the joy of the journey. There is happiness in the voice of a child, the greeting from your dog when you get home, a call from an old friend, helping out someone stranded on the road, the beauty of a rose, etc. You just have to open your eyes to what is going on around you every day. Quit focusing on that person in the mirror and experience the life that is literally passing you by.
- To find happiness, you have to have a grateful heart. Nobody can truly be happy if they are not thankful for what they have. Learn the secret of contentment. Be content regardless of how much or how little you have. Long term happiness is never found in things, but is found in relationships. Use things. Love God and love people. Never get those confused.
- Happiness is found in giving, not getting. When you give of your time, your talents, your resources, etc., you are investing in others. It never has been all about you or all about me, as much as we would like it to be. Learn to give if you really want to live.
- You can never be fully happy if your heart is filled with hatred, bitterness, resentments, envy, or if you are unforgiving. Forgive those who have wronged you and let go of the chains of the past if you wish to find happiness.
- True happiness is based upon love and peace. When you love God and love people, you begin to understand how to have peace and happiness in the midst of this chaotic world.
I hope and pray that your pursuit of happiness is blessed, and that you find the secret.