Is happiness possible? That may sound like a dumb question. Of course it’s possible…if…
We all have an internal “if.” How would you finish the sentence for your own life? “Happiness is possible for me if… “
Now finish this sentence: “I’m not happy because… “
Really take a few moments to answer those questions before you read on. Grab a pen and paper and write out your response.
I don’t want to take away from the real pain that may be held in the way you completed those sentences. And I’m not going to ask you to sweep your feelings under the rug with the wave of a Bible verse. But I am going to ask you to open your heart and mind to what I have to say.
First, let me make a concession. Happy feelings would be a lot easier to come by if our circumstances were perfect. But, hear me. That is never going to happen. Not for anyone (no matter how it may look on Facebook or Instagram).
Here is a key truth I want you to remember: Life usually contains a yea and an ugh…at the same time. See, true inner happiness (more than just happy feelings) doesn’t involve the absence of pain. And it certainly doesn’t mean denying that pain is there.
Life can bring horrific pain: abuse, the loss of a loved one, financial devastation, broken trust, divorce, debilitating health issues, natural disasters, wayward children, the list is almost endless.
How can some people face excruciating life circumstances and still manage to live a fulfilling life and others, some with very little challenges, descend into depression and addiction?
Heartfelt happiness is the result of truthful thinking.
So many people think they will have happiness when they lose a certain amount of weight. But, think about it. There’s a lot of skinny, miserable people in the world, right? So, while you might feel better in your own skin, losing weight doesn’t equal happiness. Maybe you’re thinking you could be happy if your husband changed. And, while it’s true that life might be a lot easier, there’s plenty of women with great husbands who still struggle with unhappiness.
Happiness isn’t about feeling or looking fabulous and never feeling pain. It’s about feeling whatever pain comes into your life and transforming how we look at it; transforming our suffering into purpose so we don’t become crippled by it.
Lasting happiness has way more to do with your internal world than your circumstances. When your internal dialogue always has that “if”, you can count on never finding happiness. Because life will never be perfect enough.
That doesn’t mean you give up on goals or stop striving to make your life better. It means you stop looking at the finish line for happiness and, instead, allow happiness to be with you on the journey.