As a young child, and often into the rest of our lives, we think that happiness comes from having something, from getting the thing you want. Happiness is not a consumption good.
As we mature a little more, maybe we hear somewhere it comes from having a purpose. We might even hear happiness is a byproduct of when we do something meaningful. But happiness is not something we can produce.
We often think happiness comes from relationships, and having other people we love, love us back equally.
We think happiness comes from accomplishing goals and moving “forward” in life.
We try to reward and punish ourselves, not letting ourselves feel happy unless certain circumstances come into place. We use it as a carrot and stick mechanism.
But the truth is, happiness is available to us every step of the journey. It’s not something that is a reward, or a result. It is a way of thinking, a state of mind. There are certain characteristics of happy minds, yes (uncluttered, clear, warm, generous), and certain actions that are more conducive to happiness (acts of generosity, doing something meaningful, etc).
If happiness is in your mind, why are you looking outside yourself for it?
If happiness isn’t a result, what are you doing all that stuff for?
If happiness is the meaning of life, why is there so much sorrow and struggle and guilt along the way.
Happiness is a feeling. As such, it is ephemeral, and things will come that shake your state of mind as much as you let them. Happiness is not the meaning of life, but it attends a meaningful life.
Happiness just is.
Let the truth set you free.