Shortcuts to Happiness

Quick fixes, looking for happiness in all the wrong places

People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? Albert Camus

We learn the inner secret of happiness when we learn to direct our inner drives, our interests and our attention to something outside ourselves. Ethel Percy Andru

  Happiness is a state of mind. The ingredients and raw materials are to be found within, not without. We waste time and effort looking for it in the wrong places. It is as close to us as the nose on the end of our face.

   The following words are simple and profound: Happiness is a state of mind. It comes from within. It does not come from the accumulation of wealth or things; it results from transforming how we think, what motivates us, and what we choose to live for. There are no shortcuts. The harder we look, the harder it is to find. Our inability at finding it is like not being able to see the forest for the trees. In some ways it is counterintuitive, it goes against the norm; it is so close that we can reach out and touch it, while at the same time it is so far away that we do not see it. Happiness is always there waiting for us. It is not something we actually find. Once we become aware of its true nature, we allow it to embrace us. We quit fighting so hard and let it find us.

    Some of the following synonyms describe happiness: satisfaction, joyfulness, blessedness, contentment, pleasure and peace of mind. These words describe mental conditions that only evolve from deep within. They are produced as a result of developing a process that filters and minimizes the undesirable influences from the outside. Happiness does not allow outside conditions to dictate feelings and attitudes. At the core of this is the nature of stimulus and response. Things happen to us, evoking a stimulus. Time lapses between the stimulus occurring and how long it takes for us to respond. Depending upon our mental processes and controls, our response can be happy or unhappy, mild or severe, emotional or controlled, negative or positive and a myriad of other possibilities. One of the keys to an attitude of happiness is to gain control of how we respond to everything.     

   The more we manage our responses, the more we control and transform ourselves from within. If we program ourselves to look for reasons to be happy instead of unhappy, we will find reasons to look at the bright side, find positives in negatives and learn to take things in stride. Happiness is an attitude and an outlook that we create. 

Challenge: Lincoln said you are about as happy as you choose to be. This hits the nail on the head. Happiness is an attitude and it is a choice. If you allow life to dictate to you, you are choosing to miss out on happiness. If you choose to take control, then happiness is there waiting for you to breathe it in. It becomes an attitude, a life style, and a philosophy of living. It is to be found inside of you. Quit looking for it on the outside. Look within.

Wisdom:

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

Spiritual: (NIV)

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God, may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isaiah 28:26

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7

True happiness is not attainable unless it includes God in our lives. We are made in God’s image. He is an integral part of our nature. Due to our stubbornness and desire for independence, we try to ignore God and refuse to allow him to influence our lives. As long as God is absent, true happiness cannot exist within us. A caterpillar cannot become a butterfly without going through metamorphosis. We cannot be happy without God.

Prayer: Help me to understand that I am less than I can ever be without allowing your Spirit to make me whole.

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