“The word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” — Carl Jung
Have you ever wondered why there are so many quotes, posters, articles and books focused on the pursuit of happiness, yet so many people still in search of it? Perhaps this is because happiness is not the answer. Trying to find it and keep it is a set-up for disappointment. So, …
Don’t do it!
Seek a spiritual connection.
Happiness is a feeling. It comes and goes. It lives in the world of physical existence, which is the world of duality. This means that after happy follows some version of sad. The pendulum always swings. You can’t hold onto feelings. We are designed that way. Physical life is designed that way.
Seeking happiness reinforces unhappiness. It is a constant reminder that you are not happy, which often makes the unhappiness more intractable. It is dependent on the external: people, things, situations, circumstances. While these may provide pleasure for a while, they cannot do so on a permanent basis. Whether a relationship, new job, or what have you, the honeymoon phase only lasts for so long. And, external things can be taken away. In the blink of an eye.
Most who are looking for happiness are really hoping for something else: Joy. This can only come from the internal. This is the strength I’m talking about. The problem is, the more we empower the external, the more we disempower the internal.
A perfect example: I see so many people looking for love to make them feel blissful, comfortable, secure, and to make them feel better about themselves. We bought the ruse of “Happy Ever After” and we have not let go. We try to force it to happen, and the more we force the more we ruin what could be a good thing or hang on to what is not good. We weaken ourselves.
Our biggest mistake is thinking relationships will make us happy. Relationships are meant to make us more aware, more wise, more mature. Relationships help us grow, and growth brings strength. Strength provides an inner peace that transcends feelings and circumstances. THAT is joy, a state of being beyond happiness. Good feelings come and go, but no one can take your strength from you. That’s freedom. That’s power.
Same goes for jobs, a better body, a bigger home, and ___(fill in the blank)___. Nothing external can bring joy, the peace that passes understanding. Joy is constant because it comes from inner strength, higher awareness, and a connection to self and Spirit, so that no matter what is happening “out there” one always has a sense of harmony “in here.” This is what I call Bazooka-Proof.
Self-expression is using the best of yourself as a contribution to others and as a manifestation of the divine within. At our core, we all have a desire to make a difference. Do what you love and the money will follow doesn’t always pan out, but you can find self-expression in whatever work you do. Then, you experience a sense of purpose that is also beyond happiness.
The Strengthsfinder creators discovered this truth. They found that if you express who you are as it relates to certain gifts, traits and qualities which are easily identifiable, then you experience deep satisfaction at work. And in all of life, I would add. I provide an in-depth analysis of strengths for my clients and witness the value of this firsthand. When you build your life around the assets you embody, you find fulfillment wherever you go.
Spiritual life has a solidity that physical life does not. The cross is an archetypal symbol which pre-dates Christianity. While it has embodied a variety of meanings, the cross has long been a sign of balance, wholeness, and most relevant here: bringing spirit into matter. The strongest point on that symbol is the junction between the two arms. A point of light. Having one arm without the other is inherently weak. The combination of the two is invincible.
However you define the Higher Power many call God, determine what brings you closer to that, and nurture a connection. Just as you cannot have a relationship with someone you never talk to, you cannot have a relationship with a Higher Power you never seek.
In the words of Proverbs 3:13-14 KJV – Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
Don’t get me wrong. Happiness is good, the need for it is the problem. Seek strength, self-expression, and Spirit, and you will obtain the riches of wisdom, understanding, and joy. Then happiness can be found.