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Is happiness the key to life?

For many, it is. But it’s so easy to get caught up worrying about our own happiness.

We can actually turn happiness into an idol that we worship, without even realizing it.

I’m not going to go into the religious implications of that, but I’m sure you would agree that idols aren’t the healthiest things to form. And you’re right. Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, happiness makes a terrible idol.

There is a way to achieve happiness without idolizing it, and it’s actually easier than you may think.

More is Better: A Formula for Dissatisfaction

So much of our unhappiness comes from a constant desire for more. And that desire is warranted, but the problem lies in when we try to obtain happiness through material possessions. We don’t like to admit it, but it’s true. That’s why shopping is such a common, though ineffective, solution when we are feeling down.

More is better, right? With the new minimalism trend, we’re seeing a lot of the opposite. The More of Less and The Power of Less are just a couple books that say show how less may be the answer…

Happiness starts with the realization that stuff isn’t going to make you happy.

Before you dismiss that last sentence, stop and think, seriously. Do you feel like buying or having stuff can make you happy? It can temporarily, but do you feel like it’s actually the solution when you’re not feeling happy? If so, you’ve found your first problem: you put a higher value on physical possessions than they deserve.

Happiness Starts Now

“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.” -Ralph Marston

Money can’t buy happiness. It’s been proven.

If you’re not happy now, you need to fix the problem now. Stop waiting on something to happen for you to be happy.

You’ve heard it, and probably said it, before:

  • I’ll be happy once I’m debt-free
  • I’ll be happy once I get married
  • I’ll be happy once I get that promotion
  • I’ll be happy once my upcoming test is over
  • I’ll be happy once I am retired and sipping margaritas in Cozumel

Yes, that. Stop that. We all think life works like that, but it doesn’t.

Look at the lottery. The lottery is made to target people who think winning it will make them happy. While about half the lottery winners do claim to be happier after winning, the happiness from winning is only temporary. It’s temporary because it doesn’t take long for everything that was going on in their life to creep back up, and temporary because 70% of them end of bankrupt, but that’s for a different article.

If you really want to be happy, you have to choose to be happy, each day. Stop waiting.

How to Actually Achieve Happiness

Material possessions can provide temporary happiness, but true happiness comes from a deep sense of purpose.

For me, that means finding my worth in Jesus Christ and living for Him. For you, that may mean something completely different. That point is, you have to have your “why.” Why you wake up each day. Why you’re on this earth. Why you were put here in the first place.

Entitlement is running rampant in our culture, and it kills happiness, because it puts the ball in someone else court. Pick up the ball. Someone else isn’t going to fulfill your happiness. Happiness is your decision. Other people can only hinder it if you let them.

All of this sounds way easier than it is, and I realize that, because I try to live this everyday too and it’s not easy. But remember, happiness may not be the most important thing. You’re here for a reason — a reason much bigger than yourself. When you start thinking outwards about others and less about yourself, you’ll find that happiness comes naturally.

Find your why. Minimize distractions. Choose to be happy.

What does happiness mean to you? Where does your happiness come from? Share below!