I WANT TO BE HAPPY
How many times have you heard your children, your spouse or a friend say, “I just want to be happy.” William James, the father of modern day psychology said, ‘how to gain and keep happiness, is for most people the driving motive of all we do’. We spend our lives seeking the things that will make us happy. We want to fulfill our desires and have lasting satisfaction in our life. Happiness is one of our deepest longings. But what makes us happy?
After our needs for the things necessary to sustain life such as food and shelter are met, we strive for more material things to make us happy. We want more money, a bigger house, a more expensive car, more clothes etc. We seek more pleasures in affairs and addictive behaviors. The problem with this is that at some point, we feel a deep emptiness; boredom and restlessness. The happiness we receive from “things” does not last long. A fulfilling happiness does not occur if this is our answer for happiness. Some of us keep searching for happiness through these material “things” but as our spirit matures, we hunger for something more.
Spitzer, 2014 in his book, Escaping Your Personal Hell, tells us that when we become more self conscious and more aware of our inner self, we start to compare ourselves to other people and feel we would be happy if we had some of their attributes. If we were only smarter, prettier, a better athlete, taller, a better speaker or numerous other ego comparisons, we would be happier. But again we find that comparing ourselves to others does not bring us lasting happiness. As we come to know our true nature and ourselves, we value the talents God has given us and we develop a greater capacity for true happiness in our life. We are able to access our deep creativity and experience a sense of inner wellbeing.
As we grow in our spirit, our happiness increases. We have a very powerful capacity for empathy. Empathy opens the way to caring for others. This desire forms the basis for us to make a positive difference to someone or something beyond ourselves. We want to contribute to our community, those in need and form caring relationships in our churches and other charity organizations.
However, there is something more that will fill our desire for ultimate happiness. Although happiness is within everyone’s grasp, we find it difficult to give up our search for “things, addictive behaviors and ego comparison feelings. This is part of everyone’s journey. Patience, positive reinforcement and most of all prayer will guide our progress. True happiness comes from an unconditional loving relationship with God. True happiness is a permanent joy. We were created to be one with God. As we detach ourselves from other paths to happiness, our journey to our loving God will bring us sanity, peace, and eternal Love.
“God makes himself known to us as our fulfillment, we feel empty when we are not in relationship to Him
He makes Himself known to us as true home, we feel alienated when we are not at home with Him;
He makes Himself known to us as ultimate love, we feel alone when we are not in relationship with Him” Spitzer, May 2014
Spitzer, S.J. Ph.D. Escaping Your Personal Hell, May 2014 Magis Center of Reason and Faith
Spitzer, S.J. Ph.D. Four Levels of Happiness, May 2014 Magis Center of Reason and Faith