Can we do better than be happy?
Lately, I have been questioning the entrenched pursuit of happiness. I'm thinking that it's not necessarily the target of our deepest desires, despite the current media onslaught pushing us to pursue it. Maybe the singular aim in life is something more. Let me explain.
I've written repeatedly about happiness over the years and for good reason. It has been linked to physical and mental health in many research studies. Happy people tend to experience a better sense of well-being. There is nothing wrong with that.
Feeling happy is generally a good thing. But what really underlies much of the quest for happiness is an intrinsic desire for recognition of our worth. The happiness crave cannot be satiated without a reasonable understanding of one's own value and the worth of others.
We know the drill. It's been instilled in us from early on. Acquire that new smartphone or car, amass wealth and prestige, foster attention and notoriety, or gain intellect and scholarly success and we are told happiness will ensue. But who has ever found that to be the case, at least in a lasting way?
"Happiness consists in being and in doing good;" wrote Mary Baker Eddy, "only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can."
Without the consciousness of our worth, we experience unhappiness and stress. Securing a more contented outlook requires seeing through shallow remedies for happiness to find and treasure a more satisfying and real viewpoint of ourselves.
Just how important are you in the scheme of things? I have found reassurance of my own worth and virtue through praying about how I came to be. Many Bible references support my sense of worthiness: "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him," and "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
This says to me that our value to the Creator is like the value of a child to a mother or father. Accepting our complete worth as a God-created identity can bring immediate fulfillment. There doesn't have to be a "I'll be happy when" scenario or a "maybe someday" proposition when you grasp just how significant you are to infinite Love (God) right now. Worth and the joy it carries are possible within the immediate sphere of our experience.
In the rush to get to a happy place that comes from things or some event or another person, we miss the present occasions to experience deep-seated satisfaction that comes from the spiritual understanding of our uniqueness. We can contribute to our communities and the whole world the distinctive outlook, talents and energies that we derive from the infinite source of good. That makes us exceptional.
A resolution adopted by the United Nations calls for an International Day of Happiness to be observed each year on March 20th. This year we are invited to focus on our connections with others. Let's help make the world a happier place by embracing the immeasurable worth of ourselves and our universal brothers and sisters.
Happiness is more than a fragile sense that "it's all good." Happiness is the rock-solid assuredness of everyone's worth and acceptance. Singers/songwriters Mindy Jostyn and Jacob Brackman put is so succinctly in their hit, In His Eyes: "There's never a story that ever could change the glory of you in His eyes." Let's make everyday Worthiness Day!