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Is Life About Finding Happiness?

Happiness and Simple Living

Is life about finding happiness?

It sounds a bit selfish doesn’t it?

I used to think it sounded selfish. But what if it wasn’t selfish?

What if we are meant to find happiness in life?  What if it is true that happiness is the difference between being alive and truly living?

I think society is full of many things that are selfish, but it may be more in our definition of happiness than in actually finding it.

If happiness to you means:

  • making as much money as possible
  • advancing as high as you can in your career
  • owning as much, and as nice of things as possible

… than pursuing these things is definitely selfish.

But

… we know these things don’t bring happiness

If

…happiness doesn’t come from these things, where does it come from?

And

…instead of being selfish, can finding happiness be beneficial, not only for us, but for the people around us as well?

Isn’t it easier to be around people who are happy?

Maybe the saying ‘If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody is happy’ can refer to any family member or friend.

Because of this, I think trying to find happiness is very important and I don’t believe it is selfish.  Selfish people can do selfish things, but trying to find to find happiness does not make you selfish.

Where do you find happiness?

What makes you happy?  When are you happy?  With whom are you happy?

I think we all find happiness in different places.  And finding happiness is important for our lives, our health, and people around us.

Each of us is going to be very different in some ways when it comes to finding happiness

  • do you like being with people or by yourself
  • do you like relaxing and reading or doing something with your hands
  • do you like leaving or staying home

But in many ways we will also be the same

  • most people will find happiness when they find their purpose
  • most people will find happiness in helping others or contributing to society
  • most people will find happiness in relationships and not in material possessions

Your personal happiness profile

Think about what makes you happy.  How much time and money do you spend on things that make you happy?  Is it enough?  How can you find more?  If you spend more time doing the things that make you happy, how will it affect your life and the lives of people around you?

Finding happiness was a big reason why we simplified in the first place and now I can see it as the driving force in our lives.  We realized we didn’t have time for the things in our life that made us happy, so we removed the things that were in the way, and we made finding time and resources for these things a priority.

However, I don’t think this is as selfish as I once thought.

I have realized, in my own life, that much of my happiness comes from contributing and giving of myself.  

  • I find happiness in my religion and in learning to live for God instead of myself.  I believe this is the core of happiness.
  • I find happiness in spending time with my family and building relationships
  • I find happiness in writing and helping others find their priorities and life that is sometimes hidden under societies expectations and extra stuff.
  • I find happiness in helping people around the world who weren’t born into the same privileges as I was
  • I find happiness working with older kids who are trying to figure out how to transition into adulthood
  • I find happiness curling up with a cup of tea and reading :)

I am not a perfect person who is always giving of myself to everyone.  There are a lot of very good things that I don’t find happiness in.  These things don’t match my personality and how I am made.

But in these things I find happiness in there is a contribution to the people around me and the world I live in.  When I create space in my life for these things I am helping both myself and I am able to help others.

What about you?

Do you know what makes you happy?  Have you felt guilty about pursuing it before because you thought it was selfish?  How can you make time to do more of these things? What difference will it make in your life?  What difference will it make for others around you?

Note: I am not saying that everything in life is always enjoyable.  There are lots of messy and important parts of life when it comes to relationships and responsibilities.  I don’t think we can ever have a life where everything is always fun, but we can schedule and structure things that make us happy into our life. 

Photo Credit: Bryon Lippincott – this was at Myrtle Beach last fall

4 Comments

  1. I’ve been SO excited about this subject! I de-cluttered so much of my house in January, and am going through a second time selling un-finished projects, etc. I have so much time/freedom (same thing, right?) in my life that I even started a blog of subjects that matter most in my life.

    It is SO fulfilling to get rid of the “Stuff” cluttering it all! I’ve started teaching my son piano lessons, and have room in my empty brain to make it super fun for him. He now loves piano (almost) as much as I do! Just needed to find some more blogs of more people who have been inspired. Looks like a good book! I need to see if my library has it. (not a fan of buying books lately. wonder why? haha.)

    • Jill, so exciting! On the book, I know several libraries that have it. I know you can request it from the library if they haven’t ordered a copy as well. I’m not a big fan of buying books either unless the are electronic :)

  2. Elizabeth Kane

    Good topic, Lorilee. I’ve found that it takes trying a lot of different things to find out what makes us truly happy. And even what makes us happy changes as we change. I know as I see friends in my life (who were doing the same things together 5 years ago) are in different places and want different things and experiences today. And so much about being happy depends on knowing what *truly* makes you happy as opposed to what society tells us what *should* make us happy.

  3. Nancy

    I enjoy reading about your thoughts Lorilee. Perhaps happiness comes from learning contentment. Sometimes some of us overly responsible people feel guilty about persuing happiness. But weren’t we created for happiness?? Who would choose an unhappy life. I think it’s in the US Declaration of Independence …. ‘ life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ But people who pursue selfish gratification thinking it will bring happiness make a mistake! I was reading this week about a how researchers have found that the richer a nation is the lower it ranks in the percentage of happy people and poorer countries ranked higher. We human beings aren’t very good at predicting what what circumstances or situations will being us happiness but if we live for a cause that is bigger than ourselves and loose ourselves in doing good for others, we will most likely stumble on happiness:)

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