Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible. – Saint Augustine
What does that mean?
What is it with us, that we pursue happiness in so many of the wrong ways? To be happy should be easy, simple and not even remotely confusing. Yet somehow, we manage to make a mess of it.
That is what the quote is saying. Even when we do everything wrong and make being happy impossible, we still wish to be happy. Unfortunately, such a situation usually results in misery.
But still we strive for happiness. And as long as we strive, we can eventually find a way to attain happiness.
As usual ladies, don’t feel left out due to the arcane phrasing, or change it in your mind to mankind or humankind. We are all equally susceptible to this sad state of affairs
Why is being happy important?
That is an interesting question, and one which has to be answered by each individual separately. While there may be people who believe that they cannot or should not try for happiness, the vast majority of us are wired to seek out happiness however we can find it. If you’re in the minority, please consider seeking guidance.
The push to try to be happy is a primal driving force. Even if we feel down or depressed or not happy in any form, it has a tendency to return to us after some time. We usually don’t have much control over it, it just happens. Even if you tried to be unhappy, mad or other than happy for an extended period of time, it just doesn’t work.
Considering the opposite, how long can we realistically remain in a state of ‘other than happy’? How do we avoid being influenced by others who are happy? Life all around us, from chirping birds to sunny days (or your favorite windy or rainy kind of day) is just there, exuding happiness and contentment. How do you compete with that?
So being happy is important to us. When we are not happy, we seek it out. When we try to avoid being happy, happiness seeks us out. Happiness is a large part of us, and one we cannot escape without putting forth great effort.
Where can I apply this in my life?
There is a character in the Winnie the Pooh books named Eeyore. He is a gloomy sort, prone to pessimism and negativity, yet he seems to be happy just by being around his friends. He is still gloomy and sarcastic, but he’s happy, which is simple enough for a kids book, but what about real life?
Happiness isn’t just about being effervescent and bubbly. Happiness comes from within ourselves, and manifests in ways which match our personalities. For some, that may just be effervescence. Others may stay taciturn and dour in attitude, but still be happy inside and quite pleased with how life is treating them.
The next question is how do we define happiness? For some it is the thrill of the chase, for others it’s the having of something. From sensations to desires, there are many ways to attain a temporary form of happiness, and that is one we all too often pursue. It comes and goes so easily. Then what?
Things we chase are eventually caught or escape. Where has the happiness gone? Possessions come and go, as do relationships. Where are we if we base our happiness on those measures? Far too much of what we do is chasing ghosts, thoughts of happiness that, when we get them, are just mirages, and disappear.
Instead of looking for happiness outside of ourselves, perhaps we should consider looking inside ourselves for happiness. Start by considering what gives you a warm feeling inside, inspires you, or gives a feeling of deep satisfaction. If you can write these down and come up with four or five, you will probably see a bit of a pattern, which is useful.
In my case, I came up with helping others as a common thread through helping with Habitat for Humanity, the local food banks, donating blood, and this blog. With the realization of this fundamental unifying source of happiness and satisfaction, it is much easier to find happiness when I need it. I just do something to help others.
What was your most common thread or threads? Can you find other examples earlier in your life when you used these methods to find happiness within yourself? Such instances can be used as additional data to help you find the thing (or things) which truly bring out the happiness within yourself.
We all have happiness within ourselves. It is just a matter of discovering it, and bring it into our lives. What helps you bring out yours, and how can you find small ways to incorporate them into your daily life? How can you make happiness your default state of being, a habit, and not something that occasionally happens?
From: Twitter, @philoquotes
confirmed at : This quote is cited in the book ‘Happiness’ by Randy Alcorn. It is listed as foot note , but Google won’t show me what the exact source is (not included in the free view).
photo by Francesco Veronesi