When I ask people what they want from life I always get many different answers. Some tell me they want a lot of money. These are usually the people who seem to be struggling with finances at that very moment or feel they have always struggled with finances. Others tell me they want to be healthy. Most often it seems they, or someone they care about is ill or has been seriously ill. When I ask them to think deeper than the moment, to tell me what they truly desire, most often the answer is a common one. The answer most often shared is they just want to be happy. Unfortunately they just don’t know how to “be” happy. The thought is that someone or something can or will make them happy if only they knew what it was.
There is an old saying, “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” but where is the happiness? It seems an accepted thought that happiness is the product of other things. For some it is a new car or house, for others it is a clean check up at the doctors and some even look for happiness in knowing that they are smarter than most. But are they truly happy? Can happiness be obtained by the collection of things or happiness a way of being?
There are people out there in the world who seem to “have it all”, or so we think. They are wealthy, appear to be healthy and let’s just say people seem to accept opinion as fact sometimes if the person expressing the opinion has a lot of money. Entertainers all the time get asked their opinion as it relates to politics. They may have never even voted a day in their life but suddenly they make a splash on the big screen and people want to know what they think about things. They are wealthy and in many cases aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The same goes for professional athletes. They are some of the healthiest people on the planet physically and financially make the kind of money others only dream of. They live and perform in a world where people shower them with admiration. People whom they have never met and often know nothing about the reality of who they really are. We watch these people and think surely they must be happy.
There is another old saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. We tend to look at others and project that if only we had their life, had what they had, then we would be happy. This is governed by the assumption that those individuals must be happy since they seemingly have all that we wish we had for ourselves. Why is it then so many times we hear about those individuals and destructive behavior? When we hear about the wealthiest people are in therapy or rehab often the first comment is something like, “what a waste, give me all that money or that life and I will show you how to be happy”. Why though do we think that the outcome will be any different for ourselves? If all that money and “easy life” couldn’t make them happy, how is it going to work for us? Especially if we are already unhappy? Herein lies the answer to the question, what is happiness?
I believe happiness is a way of being. Whether it is a personality trait or a choice or a learned way of functioning in the world, it is my opinion that no matter what our circumstances, we all possess the ability to be happy. We can choose to live happy and understand that our attitude and outlook on life is ours to govern. I am not saying that there will never be moments of unhappiness but if the underlying theme is happiness then moments is all they will be. A bump in the road is simply just that, not a bumpy road. You can be certain events and circumstances will come and go in our lives as we travel along our journey. We have but one life to live and it is our choice as to how we live it.