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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Chasing Happiness

'If I could just ( fill in the blank ), I know I'd be supremely happy!'

Now, if you're honest with yourself, really & truly honest, you'll admit ( to yourself ) that you've at least thought this once in your life. That is, before reality came crashing down, spoiling all your hopes & dreams, or so you thought at the time! I must admit & this is my caviat, that not EVERYONE reading this will have had this happen to them or even felt the way I just described, but too often this is the case. Why IS this the case? Why do many or most people seem to think that 'the grass is greener......', that their happiness is in someone else's hands, so to speak?

When you see an advertisement for the latest, sleekest model ( car, bike, etc. ), whether on a billboard or on television ( or hear about it on the radio ), in what direction does your mind jump first? I know that when I see pictures of an exotic location, I picture myself with an equally exotic & stunning beauty of the opposite sex hanging onto my arm, enjoying the moment with me! I tend to think, 'Ah, how happy I would be if only.............' But that's just me, right? I'm a special case; no one else ever thinks like that, right!?

Some people have become world-travelers, 'chasin' down a dream', ever searching for that elusive dream we call 'happyness' but never really finding it! Why does 'the grass' always seem 'greener'? Is there something about the world that makes us feel like that donkey with a carrot suspended in front of his nose, tantalizingly close, but always dangling just out of reach? Much of the reason that we tend to search for this Gift outside ourselves is that we have been taught that it is ( outside ourselves )!

Media outlets, especially the retail ones, are well-known ( infamous ) for pushing this subliminal message across, making people think that if only they could get their hands on the latest technology or live with the latest comfort, etc, they would finally achieve such a level of happiness as they had never known before! And we buy it! Why? Don't we realize that if we aren't happy with what we have & where we are, we'll never be happy, though we do live in an exotic location with an equally exotic beauty hanging on our arm & on our every word!

Most recently on Facebook ( 'cuz that's kinda where I live ), there have been a lot of statements to the effect that happiness comes from the inside, that if you can't be happy yourself, no one can ever make you happy! Many people, I believe, would agree with that ( if 'likes' on FB says anything ); if we cannot find happiness within ourselves when we're on the downside, how can we expect to BE happy on the upside? Does our happiness indeed depend on our environment? Should it? Can we just BE happy, no matter what life throws at us, or are we forever fated to ride this roller-coaster of feelings where we're down in the dumps one day, the next higher than a kite, only to return to the doldrums the next?!

For those whose search for happiness lies in the pursuit of the next 'great' thing, whether it be a house, a car.................a wife/husband ( in some cases, just a 'lover' ), happiness may never truly come; oh, sure, for a time, they might 'feel' happy & content, but as soon as that 'thing' disappears, that husband/wife leaves & that boyfriend/girlfriend/'love' hits the road ( Jack ), all hope for this elusive dream seems to go up in smoke, as well! Why do you suppose that is? Why are we so ingrained with the notion that we must seek fulfillment outside ourselves?

When you think about it, it's not only the media & retailers that are pushing this subliminal agenda; it's all escapist thinking! 'If only we can get out of this frying pan & over that fence......................hey, look at the brightness over there! I bet I'll be happy over there!' Sound familiar? Many of us have found ourselves in a similar situation & decided to pursue that tantalizing goal, only to find ourselves in the same situation or worse.

Personally, I have found that wherever I go, there I am; I can't seem to get away from me, myself & I! No matter how far I go, no matter what I do, I will always be me & if I'm not happy with where I am now, I'll never be happy with anywhere I go! Oh, sure, like I said before & we've all 'been there done that', for a time, it may seem we've found 'happyness', but once the source of that 'happyness' disappears, so does our 'happyness', in many cases, leaving us in worse shape than we were before!

'So', you may ask, 'how does one go about finding this true happiness that you say resides within?' 'Be happy' just sounds too simple; easier said than done! Well, yes, it IS easier said than done; I can tell you from personal experience that when the waters are closing in on you & the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to look pretty damn good, that it's hard to be happy! Yes, it is difficult & seems well-nigh impossible, sometimes to BE happy, but it's NOT impossible; when we look to the Source of all things for our happiness, when we learn to be content with what we HAVE been blessed with ( no matter how it looks ); THAT is happiness! Basing happiness on how others treat us, or on the things we possess is not true happiness; things will always change, but One thing will never change; YOU will always be YOU, if you can't be happy with THAT, you'll never be truly happy!

Charles Haddon Shank

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