Where Happiness Shall Be Found
Everybody wants the same thing. To be happy. We think we want different things and that causes conflict at times. Furthermore, we think happiness lies in places it cannot be found. Nonetheless, we all just want to be happy.
The mystery is how we get there. It seems like this elusive thing. No matter how fast or long we chase it, happiness can be fleeting. We’ve been playing a game of cat and mouse with happiness. It keeps us wondering, “who moved my cheese?” Or more like, “who moved my happiness?”
But happiness isn’t what we think it is. It never has been. Somehow it got muddied and masked or disguised in this other thing that looks just like it. Somehow happiness started to look like perfection or possessions or “I’m doing better than you”-ness. Somehow we got lost in the search for happiness. It is time to finally be found.
My belief is that happiness is a state of mind. It originates from within. It is not something you can buy or steal. No one can move your happiness. It comes from you and it consists of two things.
The first being contentment. Contentment says I am satisfied and dare I say proud of where I am today. Everything is not perfect. I haven’t acquired all the things I want. I haven’t met the love of my life or started an adorable family of my own. I didn’t get that big promotion or take an adventurous trip to South Africa. My past – well, it isn’t perfect either. I’ve dated some guys I shouldn’t have. I’ve put up with things I’m embarrassed to admit. I’ve made dumb mistakes. I’ve lost friends. I’ve wasted thousands of dollars. I’ve been picked on, laughed at, and discounted more times than I can count. However, I am content in this moment.
The second component of happiness is confidence in the future. I know what I want. I know where I want to be and I’m taking steps today to create the future I desire. I am confident, in due time, if I stay the course my future will be more than I can ask or think. I believe in God, I believe in myself, and I believe in my future. When you’re content with and can acknowledge how far you’ve made it, you have stronger faith in how far you can go.
That’s it. Contentment and confidence.
The problem is most people are not content. They are too broken to be content. The truth is we are all broken this side of heaven. Some more than others. Some of us are broken in ways that make contentment and therefore happiness impossible. So we run around chasing the appearance of happiness. We try to fill the holes and cracks with artificial happiness, but it’s really just a distraction.
Broken parts need to be healed, but we’re afraid to heal. We’re afraid of the cast. It’s too big and noticeable so we reach for a band aid. Band aids can’t heal bones and they can’t heal your soul.
We’re afraid to admit we’re broken as if it were a secret. Our minds tell us no one notices but us. That’s just a lie. They notice. They’re just too afraid to tell us, because they don’t want to hurt our feelings. We’re already broken, insecure, and spiritually damaged enough. They don’t want to make it worse, but where’s the healing in that? Perhaps, they’re too broken themselves.
Everybody wants to get to happy, yet we’re too afraid to heal. But why? We are placed on this earth for the purpose of growing. And isn’t that the beauty of life? That you can begin life one way and end another? Everybody loves a rags to riches story, but we’re too afraid to create our own story. We walk around saying, “What rags?”
I am a little obsessed with caterpillars and butterflies. What a wonderful example they serve to us. Just like the caterpillar transforms into the butterfly we’re designed to transform too. We’re not meant to stay the same. We’re not meant to stay broken and discontent and unhappy.
Maya Angelou so famously said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it had to go through to achieve that beauty.”
We’re just hoping we can find happiness without our participation. We want so badly for happiness to be found outside ourselves. That would let us off the hook. Growth is scary. At the same time the scary thing is often the thing that’s worth it.
Caterpillars have it better than you and I when it comes to growth and transformation. They don’t concern themselves with the outside world. In fact, I imagine that they can’t. They just follow their instincts. I’m pretty sure the caterpillar doesn’t have little friends to tell her it’s time to build her cocoon. She just instinctively knows that her future is dependent on her willingness to grow. On her willingness to be afraid. On her willingness to take a chance.
It is my intention to share that truth as far and as wide as possible. Your future is dependent on your willingness to grow. Your happiness is waiting on your healing. Once you’ve healed in ways you never thought possible you’ll look back on how far you’ve come and you’ll know that the future is your oyster.
And that is where happiness shall be found.