The Search for Happiness
People often say that we live in a disposable society. We buy products that only last a few usages. We buy meals that come in takeout boxes that are thrown away after we are done with them. It is rare for someone to hold a single job for their entire lifetime. Even marriages aren’t made to last.
Yes, it may seem like everything in our society is becoming disposable. That we no longer seek to make things last the test of time. That we can’t even commit to our jobs or our relationships.
I think though it could be better said that we are a society that seeks happiness. We want desperately to become happy. So with each action and reaction, we push away pain and suffering while seeking that thing that will make us happy. We eat quick food hoping to stuff unwanted feelings while giving us a short burst of energy. We buy that next item that’s going to give us a lift. We seek out that new lover who will make us feel whole. When all else fails, we move on to a new job hoping that will change our lives.
Deep down, I think we all know that these outside things aren’t going to make us happy. None of us really believes that junk food has any nutritional value that will nurture our bodies so that we naturally have more energy. While we may fool ourselves for a while, a new toy or a new lover isn’t going to be able to fix our broken lives.
Actually, the key to happiness is pretty simple. Stop looking outside yourself for happiness. Stop expecting things, other people, or even occupations to make you happy. Instead, look within and find contentment.
Contentment? I know, it sounds like a lesser feeling. Contentment sounds like giving up. Everyone wants to be happy, perhaps even joyful. No one wants to be content. Or do they?
In actuality, contentment is an amazing feeling. It’s like confidence and faith that endures even during tough times. It’s like knowing that you are in exactly the right place at the right time no matter who is around you, what you possess, or what is happening in your life at the time. It’s a strength and courage that centers you.
The reality is that if you look within and find contentment, you will never again need to look outside yourself for happiness. Since contentment comes from within, you won’t have to ride the roller coaster of having and lack. Contentment provides a simple enduring balance in life wherever you are and whatever is happening. Forget happiness, find contentment.