Happiness is….a Lesson in Progress

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Happiness is the key to life. It doesn’t matter how much you have, how much you spend, make, drive or wear. It all means nothing if you are not happy with yourself. Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own. – Rene Scalfani

Happiness is a lesson that I suppose I’m in the process of learning. I think as people, we expect happiness to be something that should be easy to achieve. We’ve been influenced by the idea that the key to happiness is having it all. I know that isn’t the truth and I’m learning the hard truth that sometimes when a person isn’t happy with themselves; they strike out at others that are happy in an effort to make themselves feel a little bit better.

A person might think that having the money, control and power will make them happy. It would seem like a logical conclusion. If you have money, you can buy things to make you happy. If you control of a situation then you can move all the pieces on a game board to suit you. If you have power then you have the upper hand in every situation. Or so it would seem. I’ve come to discover from watching others that this isn’t the case. When a person has all those cards to play and still can’t find happiness – they strike out at others. Especially people who don’t seem to have much; at least by the standards they use to define happiness.

A person like this is boggled by the idea that someone like myself, who for all intents and purposes works two jobs and at times still struggles to make ends meet, lives in a small house, has “old” things instead of what is new and shiny and might not make very much, can still be happy. The concept of finding happiness with the abstract as opposed to tangible things is next to impossible to imagine. The fact that I can manage to continue to be happy even when I’m being berated, brow-beaten and harped on serves as another reminder that something might not be quite right – in their own lives.

You see – happiness is not dependent on how much money you make or the place of power you might hold. Happiness comes from those things that are less tangible in life. The love of a family, a friend who understands you no matter the situation, the unexpected kindness from an unexpected source. Happiness can come from the smallest things; a smile from someone when you’re having a bad day, the wag of your dog’s tail letting you know he’s glad you’re home. People who depend on the physical in this world will never understand true happiness. People who can’t understand true happiness; I imagine, experience a singular kind of misery; the kind of misery that they can only escape from in short bursts, usually short bursts that involve trying to tear down someone that is happy.

I’ve realized something today though – I’ve learned a little more about this lesson in happiness. I have a family that loves me, friends who love me and the wealth of knowledge in knowing that those are things that will not change. I was raised by people who know and put these beliefs into action. I don’t have to strive for money, control or power to make myself happy because while it all looks very tempting, in the end the person that depends on those things for happiness comes out on the losing end. The person that seeks to bring down others; who seeks to destroy a person’s happiness so that at the end of the day they think they’ve made another person feel as miserable as they do – they don’t ever win. Because while they might bring a person down for a short while, it doesn’t last. 

When you know where true happiness comes from – you will always win. Because no amount of money, control or power can make up for true happiness. I have true happiness and so, arming myself with that knowledge I can know that I’ll always come out the winner in the end.

I hope you find your happiness in the small things.

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