Why are we all searching for happiness? There are times in our lives when we aren’t happy, and I’m not alluding to those who are clinically depressed or need to seek professional help, but those who are just experiencing a time of blue. It could be that we are feeling miserable, we could feel absolutely nothing, or we are so deeply in denial that it spills out into other areas of our lives. When we’re this blue, we can only imagine what happiness looks like. Happiness can look like suicide or the continual denial of where we are because we can’t bear the pain. For these set of people, there can be no happiness until they confront their issues. Sometimes, they would rather live in denial than face the mountain of pain that will collapse on them, so they continue to live in misery. There is no happiness in facing the truth, but there is clarity. We can’t force anyone to face their truth because it just furthers their denial. We can only help them in their struggle. Instead of addressing the outcomes of their struggle, address what they are holding on to.
For others, happiness is momentary. It comes and goes with good memories, but that is just momentary happiness. What they are seeking is true contentment. True contentment means they are secure in who they are and what they have. To be content, they must make the decision to be grateful for what they have and who they are. You must realize that you have a choice to be where you are every day whether you consciously know it or not. You choose to be here today and there is power in that choice. You may be pressured to do so, but it is still your choice. You chose your job every day. You chose your partner every day. You chose your friends every day. You chose to be alive every day. When you chose these things, you are making a choice to fulfill these relationships and duties. When you realize that you actually do have a choice, you’ll see how much influence you really have in your life. You can choose to become a better partner, worker, and friend, or you can choose to let those relationships suffer. The power is in your grasp.
We seek out momentary pleasures, but it is true contentment we are after. We want to feel secure in our lives, but we can only be secure about our out-ward possessions and relationships when we are secure with our inner relationship. True contentment is not having the ability to be momentarily happy, but the ability to enjoy all of life’s offerings, even the tragic ones. We don’t need to take pleasure in the horrific events, but to be content in yourself is to be able to find the beauty and joy in even the ugliest of moments and people. There is beauty all around us that is easily recognizable, but only a few will recognize the beauty that is absent. When you choose to be grateful for everything, you will start to see the beauty and joy of your life and death. You can call it Zen, enlightenment, self-actualization, or whatever you want, but there is a peace in accepting life for exactly what it is.
So let’s break this down. Why are we searching for happiness? Because we think that is what we should be, but in reality, we’re looking for contentment. Contentment is the ultimate acceptance of oneself before you can accept your present. However, before you can accept your present, you have to acknowledge and accept your past. It’s incredibly hard to let go, but it can be done, which I’ll talk about in another article. If you are living in the moment, you will learn gratitude. Being thankful allows you to connect with your soul and others around you. When you are conscious of others, you will see your place in the world and what you need to do to help them. Be conscious of the privileges you’ve had in life and acknowledge them, but most importantly, you must learn to be thankful for the negative things in your life.
If you continue to view these negative things as detrimental, they will shape your outlook on the rest of your life. People grow up with so much baggage that is incomprehensible. Those who are white, rich and males are privileged, and as such, if you find you are a woman, poor, or a minority, you feel as if these things are barriers to your success. The truth is that they are barriers in your physical world, but do not let them become mental barriers. We start to think that because we are these things, we will never be able to rise, but we are the ones barricading ourselves from what is possible before we even enter the world. Learn to see these attributes as positive. When you are a woman, you know what it is be paid less for the same job. When you are poor, you know what it is to accused of being lazy. When you are a minority, you know how it is to be discriminated against. You know things others don’t, so use them to your advantage, for these things that should hold us back have shaped us into exactly who we are today. When you choose to be proud of who you are and where you came from, you are accepting your inner relationship.