… just as long as you’re happy
Cute fuzzy kittens. Hot chocolate (with Fluff), curled up in front of a toasty fire. A diamond ring. A new car. A tropical beach in an exotic resort. A new home. Just as long as you’re happy. Why not!?! What else is there?
Might I suggest, against the flow of popular sentiment, that, though guaranteed “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” by America’s Declaration of Independence, that happiness is not the end to which we should be striving. It should not be an end at all. Happiness, rather, is the proper byproduct of effort and service to society or another individual.
Pursuing happiness as an end in itself creates a deceptive sense of selfhood that is based on contentment rather than on a platform of considerate generosity. To be sure, there are some who give to feel good about themselves. Notwithstanding, they are still giving. But what if we were able to give purely from a motive of gallantry, or magnanimity? Scoffers will accuse that there is no such thing as a free lunch; that everybody wants something for their gift—recognition, admiration, etc. Yet I know many people who give graciously, sacrificially, who expect nothing, nothing, not even a thank you. They merely give because it is right.
No further happiness need be sought when a person’s individual integrity is in full blossom; when we steel our hearts and minds to a task, a challenge, an impossible situation which needs correction, the doing of it alone is the prize for its achievement. Happiness is merely a derivative of making a difference.
Therefore, if happiness is what you seek you pursue a wrong path. Instead, endeavor to make a difference, to add to the lot of others, to alleviate another’s suffering, poverty, or emptiness. It’s not about a free lunch, feeling good about yourself, or just as long as you’re happy. Life’s journey is to be shared with others—of greater means, of lesser means. We are each one on this planet for a short span of time. Our goal should be to make a difference, to leave a great legacy, in the changed lives of friends, communities, and nations.
And, yes, I like the picture of the fuzzy, grinning kitten.
Have a nice week,