People have been searching for happiness since the dawn of time. Everybody wants to be happy. For some people, their ultimate goal for happiness lies in the things they own. For others, being surrounded by loved ones represents happiness. Still others feel that if they had the right body shape, hair, good looks or health, that's their source of happiness. Even Dictionary.com says, "Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good." But is that really true?
Let's analyze. How many people who own lots of "things" are truly happy? What about you? Do the things you currently own satisfy you... or do you want more. Would something bigger, newer, or faster do the trick? James Altucher gives us some insight with this quote, "Learning to find happiness with less is true wealth. Ultimately we are the sum of our experiences and not the sum of our belongings." Obviously, the things we own are not the answer.
How about being surrounded by loved ones or finding that special person of our dreams? To a certain extent I agree. Some of my happiest moments have been around family -but so have some of my most miserably depressing or painful moments. I'm sure you can relate. Sometimes our expectations of those we love can cause us misery when not met.
In either case, whether it's things or people, if we look to those to find true happiness, we're dependent on something else. True happiness comes from within. It's based on who we are and how we view ourselves. Regardless of our circumstances in life, we can always be truly happy if we feel good about ourselves. The question remains, though; how do we get it? What is the secret to true happiness?
Charles Dickens gave us a clue when he said, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." Another clue is found in a quote from the Bible. Jesus was quoted as saying (at Acts 20:35), "Happy is giving; it beats taking." -Byington
This concept may run contrary to what we believe -especially with all of the commercials impelling us to buy more. However, since true happiness comes from within, think about how you felt the last time you helped someone. Didn't it make you feel good -from inside?
Giving builds confidence. It gives hope to both the giver and the receiver. It doesn't have to cost us anything to give. Often, the best thing we can give is our time. Giving creates a richness inside us that can never be taken away.
"No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank
My challenge to you is to take just a moment to think about ways you can give. Then pull out your calendar and arrange a time to do so. Make it a regular part of your schedule. Teach it to your children. Involve the whole family.
If you learn to give without expecting anything in return...and practice it regularly, you will have found the real secret to true happiness.