Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Find the Meaning In Your Life and You'll Be Happy

It's the start of another year. Welcome 2018! To start the year, let's look at a topic that could be a good starting point for setting directions in our life this year.


Do you agree with Audrey Hepburn's quote?

"Do whatever makes you happy." You probably heard that advice at one time or another especially if you've ever felt unsatisfied with a job or any other personal or professional situation. Maybe you have given that advice to someone else, too. I have. Sad to say, this advice is not helpful in many cases and can be misleading.

In today's world, the pursuit of happiness is a deeply ingrained concept. We're taught to expect our lives to be fairly happy, and we're encouraged to do whatever it takes to achieve that.

But, as everything else in life, happiness isn't so simple.

What is happiness?

It begins with how you define happiness. For many, happiness refers to what you can get from others and your environment. In other words, you're happy when your material and emotional needs are fulfilled.

That's what we learned from Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Outdated or not, it gives us an idea of what people need to be happy and the importance of each of those areas in our lives - from basic biological needs like food and shelter to more elevated needs like self-development and creativity.

However, fulfilling our needs doesn't always make us happy. And in many cases, that comes in direct conflict with the happiness we seek.

For example, a job that covers our basic needs for food, shelter, and security could be getting in the way of your need for creativity, flexibility, and freedom.

On top of that, we tend to think of happiness as static, as something you either have or don't. However, this isn't the case, at all. Instead, happiness is fluid and fleeting.

So, is it futile to pursue happiness?

Not at all. Instead, to find that happiness, you need to redefine it.

For me, happiness begins with finding the meaning of life. I have discovered that the true meaning of life is in God and His Words. I've read that in Him we live and move and have our being. It is when we have discovered what God has done for us and what He wants us to do with our lives that we can live meaningfully. Next to that comes the joy or happiness of living. 

Oftentimes, life is not easy. Challenges and trials come and go. But knowing that we are fulfilling what God created us for keeps us going with joy and strength. 

So, happiness is not just about the nice feeling you get when your needs are met, or when you receive something nice from someone else. Jesus said "It is better to give than to receive." So happiness is also about what you can give to others, and how giving gives you a purpose.

Giving helps you reaffirm your very humanity. It makes you forget yourself, and give yourself to the person in front of you. Luckily, you don't have to change your entire routine to switch the focus from your own thoughts and needs to someone else's.

Here are a few simple things you can do to start giving more:

Listen. Some people just need an ear that will listen to what they have to say. So, instead of thinking what to say, pay attention to every word the other person is saying. 

Build things for others. Can you knit, make origami figures, or draw? Make something and give it away. Never expect anything in return.

Volunteer. Take five minutes to think of what's important for you. What are your values? Is there a cause you'd like to champion? Do you have time or skills to give away to that cause?

Be kind. Make it a purpose to be kind to others every single day. Believe it or not, little acts of kindness have a contagious effect. Compliment someone. Help him with his groceries. Offer to do some extra work to help out a friend.

Become a mentor. We all started somewhere. We've all been lost, confused, and tired. However, you have answers and insights that can help out someone starting out his journey.

By giving, you're sharing the love of God and creating connections with those around you. Life stops being just about seeking satisfaction and it takes on a deeper layer of commitment. Life is no longer all about you. It's about God creating a positive effect on other people's lives through you.

Do you agree that you would be happier doing what God wants you to do and spreading his love to others? Maybe being happy is really the most important thing in life, but only if you know what it means and where to find it.




3 comments:

theresa said...

New year means new chance of spreading good things to people around us. I like how you enumerated those things that we can start so that we could give more. Right at this very moment, I am creating a plan because I wanted to create a mommy fair to the moms here in the province. I hope this form of giving will push me in creating more goals for the mom community here in my place.

Michi said...

I agree, we should know our own definition if happiness so life would be simple. When you feel happy, you want to share it with others. :)

Chin chin said...

Theresa, that is a very good event to have. I hope your mommy fair will push through and help more mommies in your community.