I’m not sure who made us believe we deserve to be happy. Maybe it was the fairy godmothers and princesses of our youth. Maybe it was Thomas Jefferson and his “pursuit of happiness”. Maybe it was the American dream. Somewhere along the way a whole lot of us decided happiness was a birthright. Something that would come to us naturally.
I’m certainly not an innocent bystander. I spent most of my twenties believing happiness was just going to arrive someday. Believing it would arrive in a certain package: a girl, a job, a house, and kids.
Boy, was I way off.
My point today is two-fold. First, happiness is a mythical concept. Nobody is happy all the time. No matter how good their lives.
Second, happiness isn’t something that just shows up one day—it’s something we work toward. It’s something we go out into the world in pursuit of. It’s something we fight like hell to gain.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my moments of happiness look a lot like peace of mind. They look like the cutest little puppy you’ve ever seen. They look like friends and family and deep conversations. They look like decision-making that is true to what is deepest in my soul.
It also looks a lot like hard work—5 years of therapy, 3 years of counseling school, hundreds of books read, and thousands of pages written.
And still happiness often eludes me.
I guess my point is, if you aren’t happy and you know it, quit waiting. Go find it. Find a mentor or a therapist to talk to. Read books. Ask hard questions of yourself. Quit ignoring the yearning in your gut.
Because happiness isn’t going to drop into your lap someday. It’s out there waiting on you to come find it.
Oh, and if you can, take the ones you love with you on the journey. It'll mean WAY more that way, I promise.