by Robert Puff, Ph.D. / Source: Psychology Today
We all search for different things. Some of us seek money, some seek fame, some seek love, and some seek health. I believe that what we're all ultimately searching for is happiness. "I'll be happy if I find the love of my life…I'll be happy if I get that promotion… I'll be happy if my sickness is healed…" The list goes on! We seem to forget that people who have money, fame, love, or health are not necessarily happy.
Instead of those things that may lead to happiness, we should examine what does cause happiness. You may be thinking, "Why should I listen to you, Dr. Puff?"
Perhaps I feel as though I have knowledge to impart regarding finding happiness because God created me in such a way that this has been my passion. I have, from a young age, pursued happiness, exploring what makes us happy and how exactly we can be happy. My journey has been long and arduous, but along the way I gained important insights into the art of being and staying happy. I absolutely guarantee that anyone can be happy if he or she works at it. At our core, happiness is what we're all pursuing. We may be searching for it by following our favorite sports team every weekend, searching for love in the local clubs, or toiling daily at work, hoping to make enough money so that all will be well.
I would like to share a story I heard that explains what happiness, at its core, is about. There once was a man named Jim who constantly prayed to God, always wanting something. One night while Jim was saying his prayers, a voice spoke to him out of nowhere. Although he felt very frightened, he finally mustered up the courage to ask, "Who is it?" The voice answered, "I am God." As you can imagine, he was both very scared and very excited. Jim asked Him, "Why are you here, God? What do you want?" God replied, "Jim, you have been praying to me for many years, constantly asking me for this and that. I have decided that I am going to give you one last thing. It can be anything you wish. However, what you ask for will be the last thing I ever give you, so consider carefully what you want." Jim was thrilled, but extremely nervous. He didn't know what to ask for, and shuddered at the thought of making an unwise choice! He began asking his friends for advice. One friend advised, "Ask for money!" but a second friend warned, "No! We know people who have money but still have problems." A third friend recommended, "Ask for a long life!" but yet another friend warned, "No! If you do, you will outlive all your friends and loved ones, and be sad and lonely later in life." Jim continued to question people about what he should ask God for, but nothing seemed right. Six months later, God returned to Jim. God said, "Jim, it has been six months and I must have your answer. What is it that you want from me?" Jim replied, "God, may I ask you a question first?" God smiled, and responded, "Yes, Jim, of course you may ask me a question. What is it?" And so Jim asked, "God, can you tell me what to wish for? I don't know what I want." God looked wise and said, "Yes, Jim, I will tell you what to ask for. Jim, what you should ask for is to be content with whatever happens in your life." Jim grinned and nodded, finally understanding what God was trying to teach him.
What Jim's story tells us is that if we learn to be happy with what we have, then we are happy. Even if everything may not be going exactly the way we initially planned, if we love what we have while at the same time working toward making changes, we will lead a happy life.
"Be content with whatever happens in your life." You may say, "I am in a job I don't like. Can I be happy?" Of course! Make adjustments as best you can, but if your job satisfaction still doesn't change, learn to be content with what you have. Retrain your thinking.
There is a rule of logic that states, "If any person in the universe can be happy with 'this thing,' then it is a possibility for anyone." In other words, if someone has cancer or has lost the love of their life but is happy, it means that any of us, although we may suffer from similar misfortunes, can be happy. Happiness is possible right now, in whatever situation you may find yourself.
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