What is the meaning of happiness? When you think of times in the past when you considered yourself “happy”, was it while on vacation at a beach or perhaps up on a mountain top? Were you alone? Or perhaps it was the feeling you had when you won a race, landed that great job, or finished a tedious project? Was it the day you were awarded the certificate of achievement, were voted most beautiful, or made the final cut? Was it a permanent feeling? Do you have a “happy place” where you place your mind in order to endure momentary pain? Oh, how fleeting happiness is! Yet even now you may truly wonder and even ask: How can I be happy?
Happiness is not the Same as Joy
When evaluating, we find that elation, achievement, and success, while certainly welcomed into the humdrum of the ordinary, are not the same as the warm and fuzzy feelings of happiness. And happiness is not the same as the satisfaction of knowing a deep joy.
Perhaps you have thought that happiness would be your permanent state of mind once you achieved certain things. Surely, I will be happy when I receive my hard-earned degree; when that desirable job is mine; when I marry that perfect person who I love. Happiness must be waiting for me when I have achieved all my goals. Yes, those worthy achievements made you feel proud, but the happiness bubble eventually popped. Is it possible to keep a constant inflation of happy? Or is it a life-long struggle?
Are You Happy?
Achievements are certainly to be celebrated. We strive to use the gifts we have been given to accomplish our mission in life. We are able to take care of our needs and help others. We can serve our church and communities. We are in a position to be able to give instead of being the needy recipient. We may have established a loving family and found a place of service. We have a sense of satisfaction in all we have accomplished. But are we happy?
Perhaps happiness isn’t something you feel.
Perhaps it is something you do. Perhaps it is in being grateful for your blessings, your life, your accomplishments. Perhaps it is in showing gratitude for everyday things – a beautiful sunset, the shared nod and smile of a loved one, the hug of a child, the simple thank-you from an elderly person.
Perhaps happy is seeing clearly and deeply feeling life.
Not only achieving. Sharing a genuine thank-you or a meal. Whispering a prayer of thanks as you enter the safety of your home. Looking for and finding the beauty in the ordinary. Verbalizing what a blessed or lucky person you are, as you start to find joy in small everyday moments. Finding joy in hitting the synchrony of all green lights on the way to work. Yes!
What Brings Happiness?
You may find that practicing gratitude brings happiness. Being in the present for those moments. Realizing that these are gifts that enhance our day and soothe our spirit. Similar to grace, we don’t have to earn it or be ‘good enough.’
Not happy go lucky – yet finding the joy in small everyday moments. A hug, a smile, a walk. Loving and being loved in return. Practicing gratitude – being present for those moments.
Much like grace – and we definitely don’t have to be good enough (nor can we be) to earn God’s grace –we just need to be open to receiving His grace. And grateful. Likewise, we also receive happiness as we practice sharing. Being aware of the things that bring beauty and order to our lives. This is happiness.
How much money would you need to be happy?
Even if you won the lottery – after basic needs are met, increasing your disposable income follows the law of diminishing returns. The impact on happiness from another hundred dollars when you are already rich is minimal. This theory teaches us that we should enjoy the journey – not the destination – of life events.
Remove the idea that there is only one thing in this life that will make you permanently happy and, if that does not fall into our path, then we will forever be unhappy. Your world is larger than that. Your opportunities are unlimited.
Essentials of True Happiness and Joy:
- Relationships are likely the most essential of our needs – the basic need for the feeling of connection and belonging. A relationship with the Eternal God through His Son, Jesus Christ, brings a joy through His grace given to us in forgiveness, acceptance, and love. On the cross, He paid the price for our eternal joy.
Please watch the Great News Video on this page for more about how you can have the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
- Warm relationships that are fulfilling with family and friends enhance our life and give us joy, resulting in happiness. Yes, it may sound complex, but simply put, it is just putting our faith and trust in Christ and letting him remove the envy, jealousy, selfishness, and disgruntled part of our lives, allowing us to see the truth, peace, and beauty in our lives.
God will fill our lives with the “fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. Not things to be bought or achieved – but a gift from the bounty of God.
- Contribution – a sense that we are offering something to the world that’s uniquely our own and makes a difference to others. Seeking to make our contribution to the betterment of all. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
- Mastery – growing and working to be better versions of ourselves. Controlling our selfish wants, and sharpening our helpful skills. Covering our perfections in love with a modesty of selflessness.
- Reflection – quieting the mind and taking stock of where we are in life. Resist things that satisfy only our impulses. A thankful spirit and a grateful heart give peace and satisfaction in reflection.
Feel a sense of satisfaction. A heart full of joy. A happy Spirit. God is in control. You are blessed. Take time to meditate and listen to the Spirit of God who wants to live in your heart where real joy will prosper and grow as we grow in our faithfulness.
Watch the Great News video on this page. Find the joy and happiness that God wants you to know and to have. It’s free.