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The Endless Pursuit Of Happiness

Everyone seems to be on a quest for happiness.

We all just want to be happy. What does that mean exactly, and how do we get there? What is happiness?

Victor Frankl said “happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Happiness must happen; you have to let it happen by not caring about it.”

Not caring about happiness seems totally against everything we have been taught. Didn’t our parents say to us, “I only want you to be happy.” Even the Declaration of Independence tells us that we have the right to pursue happiness. We all want to be happy, and we want our loved ones to be happy, but the endless pursuit of happiness can leave us feeling dispirited and exhausted. And, needless to say, unhappy.

How about if we concentrate on joy instead?

What is the difference between happiness and joy? To me happiness is something that makes you smile. Joy is something you feel in your heart.

Get a $10 rebate check in the mail = happiness

Get a hand written card in the mail from a good friend = joy

Can we concentrate on finding moments of joy in our day in order to allow happiness to happen naturally? Everyone has their own idea of what brings them joy, but we are usually in such a hurry we miss those moments.  And we surely take these little things for granted.

These are some of the daily occurrences that make me feel good in my heart:

  • Being with family and friends
  • Spending time out in nature
  • Experiencing beauty in art, film or music
  • Preparing a good meal
  • Cuddling with my dog
  • Connecting with people
  • Simplicity
  • Being kind
  • Singing in the car
  • Checking things off the to do list

How about if we wake up every morning with an intention to notice joy when we feel it, and to enjoy it in the moment? That seems a much more achievable goal than the elusive “happiness”. And maybe one day we will wake up and discover that we are, indeed, happy.

Read more posts by Linda Tabach, Linda is a blogger for JenningsWire.