Have you been on facebook lately? Pinterest?
Everyone is a buzz with one thing -one object: Happiness.
A facebook friend of mine posted a picture that had something to do with happiness with the caption, "Happiness is everything."
It's the modern theme of our society! If not happiness, then... what?
I have issues with this way of thinking -it bothers me. It didn't used to, but hitting rock bottom and starting recovery has taught me something about happiness: it's optional. it's a choice. it's no one's responsibility to give it to you. it's not the WHY of life.
A few months ago, Reader's Digest dedicated an entire issue to happiness. I hesitantly cracked the cover and was excited to find an article that played devil's advocate.
I can't find it online to source, but the article stated:
The minute we utter the words "I just want to be happy" we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
It was a breath of fresh air to read those words.
All over the Internet I see artsy images that read, "Be with someone who makes you happy!"
I want to red-pen the heck out of images like that. BE someone who makes you happy! Be! BE!
In a recovery meetings months and months ago, a woman I dearly love mentioned she had been studying up on happiness. She'd read of a 100 year old woman who was asked, "What's the biggest change you've seen in your lifetime?"
Her reply was different than what you'd expect, "In the 60s, people started saying 'Have a nice day.' Before that, no one ever expected their day to be nice. They just expected it to BE, and they did with it what they had to."
(I'm paraphrasing, not direct quoting. Please forgive.)
This morning, I came across an article written about Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist who survived WWII in a concentration camp. He wrote a Best-Selling book in nine days titled, "Man's Search For Meaning." And guess what? It's NOT about happiness.
The article (There's More to Life than Happiness) is a great, great read.
As I've thought about happiness and what it is... I've thought about joy. Men are that they might have joy, right?
I had always thought happiness and joy to be one in the same. But they're not!
Joy can be found in unhappiness. Joy can rum rampant no matter where you are, no matter your circumstances. JOY comes through living the gospel.
Happiness can come through living the gospel.
My oldest brother lost his nine month old daughter to a heart condition. He wasn't happy about it (imagine that!) but his JOY was full and complete because he knows that she is not lost forever. She is bound to him forever through the sealing ordinances offered in the Temple.
Letting go of the pursuit of happiness has been one of the greatest joys of my recovery.
Incidentally, letting go of Expectations of Happiness has actually brought me more happiness, more joy. Taking the responsibility of my own happiness into my own hands has made all the difference in my self-esteem... it's built me up, it's empowered me, and it's relieved my husband.
It's a learning process -one that requires ample soul-searching.
And so I leave off.
Have a nice day, if you'd like.
Have a hard-working day, if you'd rather.
Or have a lazy day, or a adventurous day, or a quiet day...
It's all up to you.