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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

If It Makes You Happy

“If it makes you happy” seems to be the mantra for our culture today. It is as if everything begins and ends with your personal happiness and nothing else matters.

This belief has fostered an attitude that recoils at the notion anyone or anything should get in the way of our happiness. This mindset goes on to admonish anyone who would dare to impose their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs on others. The stated reason is, this is my life, and I should be able to live it in the way I see fit. Simply because “if it makes me happy” it can be that bad.

Oh, if life were this simple. If whatever we do to be happy made those around us happy, we would all just be running around with a smile on our face and a song in our hearts.

Well, we do not have to look far to see this is not true, do we? In fact, it seems this pursuit for personal happiness is leading to a culture that is miserable, hateful, and dissatisfied with most every aspect of life.

The question I have, is there a correlation between this “if it makes me happy” philosophy and the unhappiness and discontent we see?

The answer is obvious isn’t it.

If we are constantly seeking our own happiness, we will constantly be placing ourselves, our wants, and our desires before everyone else. Which leads to a world filled with anger, animosity, and self-absorption.

You see, in a world we share with other people, we cannot only think of ourselves. If we do, we will constantly conflict with others who are also thinking of themselves.

How do we rectify this situation?

We start by realizing being happy is fleeting and there is something greater we can aspire to. That something is joy. Joy and happiness, though closely related, are completely different.

Happiness is always focused on me, while joy is felt when I turn my focus on those around me.

Joy is felt and seen when we watch those, we love live in ways that make them happy. Joy is experienced when we see others succeed and excel in life.

Is joy ever focused on us? I do not believe so simply because joy is an outflow of realizing the blessings, we have been given in the relationships we are allowed to have. None of these are based on our receiving anything other than the opportunity to live and be loved.

This joy has nothing to do with our happiness and everything to do with our thankfulness.

If we can agree this is true, we must also agree happiness is fleeting and joy is eternal.

I know this because I have spent most of my life trying to achieve happiness and now, I understand; I do not achieve joy. It is given to me.

“If it makes you happy” sounds like the right way to live until we realize it only lasts until we want the next thing.

Being joyful is a better way to live because we do not need to think about it to know it is there. We just need to look inside and realize it has always been there!

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed is the pure in heart, for they will see God”.

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