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In Search of Happiness

Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

Where does your happiness come from? Happiness can be elusive and some people feel like they are on an endless quest to find it. Often we look toward external things to give us happiness instead of looking inside ourselves. We may seek happiness through financial security, work accomplishments, relationships with our spouse or children, or our leisure activities. Sometimes we rely on our material possessions, approval from others, and/or our status/popularity all of which can be fleeting. Why do we pursue happiness and self-worth through that which we don't have much control over like people and circumstances? Somehow we are convinced that our value as judged by others' opinion matters more than our own. The reality is that we are often too hard on ourselves and may need to treat ourselves with the same kindness we give others. Ultimately our happiness should come from within.

In The Wizard of Oz remember how the group was desperately trying to reach the wizard for answers and understanding? Each of them was looking for something that they perceived as missing in themselves: intelligence, compassion, courage, and appreciation of family. When they finally spoke to the wizard, he told them that they already had what they were seeking within themselves, but just didn't realize it. On their journey to meet the wizard they had proven that those characteristics existed within themselves. In our life journey, we can learn that we only have to look inside to find our positive attributes and qualities which can bring us happiness. Personally, finding my God-given gifts and using those attributes to glorify him gives me great joy. Everyone has skills, talents, and positive attributes that can create happiness for themselves and others. So, how do we discover those attributes?

Often our positive attributes are noticeable to others before we recognize them in ourselves. We can take an assessment to find our interests and skills, but another way is to identify what you are good at and how those character traits impact others' lives in a positive way. Finding our strengths and pairing it with our passion can be a powerful formula for happiness. Making a difference in someone's life through your compassion, friendship, and/or ability to love can produce joy. Ultimately, our happiness is within our control, not all of the time, but most of the time. Happiness can be tied to our attitude, mindset, and level of optimism. Some people are great at seeing the good in most people or circumstances. Being grateful for what you have, including the people in your life, will help you experience greater happiness. Giving back to those who have very little and listening to those who are often ignored also tends to create gratefulness and joy. We can also experience greater happiness when we freely forgive others and ourselves while letting go of past hurts. Happiness comes from recognizing our strengths, challenging ourselves to love ourselves and others by using our abilities, and never giving up. A positive mindset focusing on our assets will surely lead to increased happiness. Decide today where to focus your thoughts.

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