The Key to Happiness Is No Secret You Just Need to Know Where to Look.
The widely held idea of happiness for many people in America depends upon their circumstances. “When I get a better job I will be happy.” “When I get married I will be happy.” “When I have more money I will be happy.” “When I buy a house I will be happy.” When I have children I will be happy.” Most people are looking for happiness from external situations rather than from within themselves and that is why so many fail to find the happiness they want and deserve.
Telling yourself that you will be happy “when” an idea or event occurs in your life is not sustainable because once and if these things happen the excitement eventually fades away. You find happiness when your first child is born but then you spend the rest of your life worrying about them and when they reach their teenage years you may begin to count the days until they move out on their own. Happiness based on circumstance is a house of cards, eventually something will happen and it will come tumbling down.
According to Mel Schwartz author of “I’ll Be Happy When…” happiness can only occur in the moment that you’re in and can only be sustained by developing a nurturing relationship with yourself and others. The ultimate source of happiness lies in the quality of your thoughts.
In order to better understand happiness let’s examine an article “Secrets to Happiness” by Steven Reiss. Reiss breaks down happiness into two different camps, feel-good and value-based happiness. Feel-good happiness is sensation based, things such as sex, getting a promotion, winning the lottery, joking around and partying can provide this form of happiness. The problem is feel-good happiness comes and goes-it doesn’t last. Value-based happiness revolves around values and the purpose of our lives. It represents a spiritual source of satisfaction and the meaning of our lives.
Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-26, verse 26 sums things up nicely, “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness…”
Pleasures Are Meaningless
1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless
12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done? 13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. 14 The wise have eyes in their heads, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. 15 Then I said to myself, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself, “This too is meaningless.” 16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!
Toil Is Meaningless
17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.