(photo by Hadrien*)
Last night we even watched a movie that centered around the theme of happiness. The message from the father to his children was that he was proud of them no matter what - as long as they were happy.
i'm not sure how to write about this, because I'm not sure that i'm right.
I just get a little frustrated with this pursuit of happiness. When happiness is the barometer by which we measure the value in our lives, I sort of think we are missing the mark.
Don't get me wrong, I want my friends and family to be happy. I really really want my husband to be happy, and would question myself as a wife if he wasn't. I want myself to be happy, of course. But why is happiness soooo important?
After a lonely and difficult time in my life, someone asked me, "are you happy?" Which was such a loaded question in my mind. I told her that i wasn't happy, but probably could be. But her question bothered me. "Why does my happiness matter?" I asked her. I wasn't responding with low self-esteem or self-martyrdom. Honestly, there are things in my life of far more importance than my own personal happiness. After a few minutes of really thinking about it, I told her that it wasn't happiness that I was hoping to achieve, but significance.
If you are hoping for happiness, I hope you find it. But I have realized that happiness is largely determined by the people and the circumstances of your life. And those things are always changing. I'm not saying that we shouldn't care about happiness. I seriously want you and me to be happy. But if happiness is the end-all, the goal in sight, then i think we are selling ourselves and those in our lives extremely short.
Living a life of significance.... that is much more meaningful. If we are striving to live lives of significance, then we will gage our success more by the impact we make in the lives of others than on our own personal state of happiness. But this is difficult to gauge, I know. I just wish we were striving for significance instead of happiness - I think we would all be happier, actually. I'm not saying i'm doing this in my life. I live a pretty hermit-ish life out here and spend my days in front of my computer and in the mountains. I am very happy, but perhaps not living an impacting life.
And think about people that have made an impact on your life, or who have changed the course of history. If their personal happiness was their pursuit, would the impact of their lives have reached to you and me?
But like i said before, maybe I'm wrong. I just have been bothered by the the weight and value our society puts on personal happiness. I just think we could live for greater things.