I frequently find myself in quiet moments reflecting on my happiness. Is my life going the way that I wanted? Is it turning out the way I planned? Am I spending my time in ways that fulfil me and progress me towards my goals?
I imagine that you have found yourself in similar reflective moods. Asking yourself the same questions. Am I happy at work? Am I happy in my relationship? Am I happy with my home? Am I happy with my life?
Happiness is a dangerous emotion for our wellbeing because it’s always based on some other thing, and this makes it never ending and unattainable. Think about how we use the word happy. We rarely just say I’m happy. More often we say, “I’m happy because….” I got a new car, a new job, a big promotion, a beautiful partner or I lost weight.
On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with these statements. But peer a little closer, and they are all outcome based. So be inference they are going to end up being unsatisfactory because we could always have got a bigger or better outcome.
For example, you could have got, a more prestigious car, a better job, a higher promotion, a more beautiful partner or lost more weight. Happiness leaves us always wanting more. Seeking more like this leads us to feel unfulfilled and ironically unhappy!
So, what’s the alternative to seeking happiness in our life?
I listened to a great talk by the actor Mathew McConaughey who I believe has the answer to this question. It is to seek “Joy” instead of “happiness”. He said
“Joy is what we have when we are doing what we were fashioned to do. No matter the outcome”.
Mathew has a powerful insight. Think back to moments on your life when you have felt joy. What were you doing? Who were you with? How did you feel at that moment? When I do this, I get goosebumps on my arms. The memories I have of those moments when I have felt pure joy are so incredible.
Imagine how rich your life would feel if each day was like that? The amazing thing is that it is possible for you and me. We must open our eyes to what makes us feel joyous and alive. We must seek out the people and the activities that we were born to do.
In that place and with those people we will find our joy. Make today the beginning of your journey. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.