After posting a couple articles this month on happiness, I had a conversation with a friend on the topic. She came back to me with 4 thoughts to achieving happiness. I wanted to post it here so that it stays fresh and I can let it all sink in and not get lost. I’m not capable of being this insightful, so I really appreciate her words and thoughts (and for caring).
1. Divided Heart: Divided loyalties. As long as part of you has a loyalty elsewhere, the quality of your current relationship or anything else you do will never be 100% of what it could be. Will have to choose. The truth is, happiness (not pleasure,) is only achieved by undivided hearts.
2. Selfish Desires: – the root of all evils…The source of dissatisfaction, fights, pride, greed, lust, exploitation, and (even) war. A truly powerful human being is one who is able to check their own motives and regulate their desires: suppressing the taker, promoting the giver. Happiness is only achieved by not being a slave to one’s own selfish desires.
3. (True) Love: unselfish existence. Depends on #1 and #2 and is entirely relational (i.e. not an emotion). To do and give for the benefit of others. Love is a definition of God (1 Jn 4:16). The more inward our existence, the more disillusioned with life and with others we become because we need to connect to others in order to care for and be appreciative of others. We are designed as relational beings. That is why people who feel isolated, misunderstood, and empty inside are more often depressed and suicidal. Happiness is achieved by the amount of love we give to others.
4. Peace: Knowing why you exist and being thankful for what you have. Depends on #1, #2, and #3 and is a state of mind. If one doesn’t know who they really are / what the point of their existence is – there is no reason to be here, no real value in the things they do, and no one to thank for the things they have. With no purpose or with no one to thank for what you have, there is no valid reason why anyone else in the world should resolve #1, control #2, or do #3. Everything else is just opinion or hot air. We are then left with internal conflict (#1), dissatisfaction (#2), and left empty, disillusioned, or depressed (# 3). Happiness is achieved by finding the answers to these fundamental questions.