Photo of a women relaxing in a chair looking content

Happiness is Not the Goal:

Happiness can be very elusive when directly pursued. Rather, happiness is best achieved as a byproduct of living a life of meaning and purpose, of seeking your personal mission, of sincerely endeavoring to be your best self more often, fully developing your potential. After all, to give less than your full out effort is to sacrifice the gift which virtually guarantees a life full of regrets and might have beens.

Neither is Eliminating Unhappiness:

Folks, life is full of problems. Always has been, always will be and some of those problems involve loss; be it the end of a romantic relationship or the passing of a loved one. Anything less is magical thinking and thus bouts of sadness and sorrow, melancholy and mourning are inevitable. However, buried in our grief are the seeds of growth as in the depths of our despair, we find deep wells of strength and resilience we knew not of before. Somehow, we survive and emerge the stronger.

Just as music is as much the space between the notes as it is the notes (else just a boring tone!), so happiness is best appreciated when it arrives after an absence, just as we greet the dawn after the night.

In conclusion, let me put in a good word for an emotional state that is often undervalued: contentment. To me, content means relaxed quiet ease, serenity, a sense of fulfillment and ongoing gratitude and appreciation for the blessings of life and my goal is to make contentment a steady background emotion, my ongoing default mood.

Closing Quotes:

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” – Abe Lincoln, 1809-1865

“The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions.” – Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894, age 44, ‘Treasure Island’

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1964, age 59, ‘The Scarlet Letter’, ‘The House of Seven Gables’

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.” – Eckhart Tolle, ‘The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’, ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose’

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier