Nobody is born with the capacity to remain happy permanently. Happiness is a process, and every process requires work. Everyone deserves happiness, but our ideas of happiness differ from one individual to the next. For most people, happiness is determined by their circumstances being favorable, but is this genuine happiness? Paul seems to suggest in Philippians 4: 11-12 that genuine happiness and contentment cannot be based on circumstances. So how do we attain the happiness we so eagerly seek? I want to propose happiness takes serious work. We have to work to be happy and also prepare ourselves for some unhappy times.
The work of happiness begins with a changed mindset. Ideally, we would want happiness all the time, but the world is too broken for that to happen. We spend a lot of time wishing for happiness without realizing we have the power to create our own happiness. One thing defeating many of us is convincing ourselves we don’t deserve happiness. If we believe this lie, we are going to live it and create all the scenarios to keep us unhappy. A mind that is sold on happiness will find all the reason in this world to find it. We sell ourselves short when we don’t deserve happiness in our lives.
Though unhappiness is a part of life, living waiting for the other shoe to drop will distract us from attaining joy. We cannot control most of what happens in life, but there are some things we have control over. Even in unhappy times, our response to circumstances will determine whether we overcome or sink into depression. The next time we find ourselves in an unhappy state, we should check our response to the situation. Things will not always work the way we planned, but we can choose to remain happy. It is up to us to keep finding reasons to be happy every day, even when circumstances are not the best.
The pursuit of happiness is an achievable goal, but we must put in the work. Let us stop measuring our happiness against what other people are doing. Find what works for us and go at it with passion. Sometimes we will miss the mark, but even then, there is an opportunity to start over and get it right. Embrace life and love people for all their quirkiness and inconsistencies and we will heal our ulcers. We have only one life to live. Why not choose to live it establishing our unique brand of happiness? Life is too fragile to live without meaning, and one thing I know is true: we are born to be happy.