Happiness is not inherently complicated, but we frequently make it so. We exhaust ourselves pursuing money, respect and acceptance; when what we truly crave is joy, love and connection. We often waste months of our lives — if not years — trying to be someone else. Someone we think our spouse, peers or pastor desire us to be. Pursuing our parents’ or society’s expectations and acceptance, rather than the life we dream of for ourselves. We stockpile material goods while neglecting the things that truly matters.
So how do we stop chasing the unfulfilling, fake indicia of happiness – and pursue happiness, itself?
By being true to ourselves. By deciding who we are and deciding to become that person. And rejecting who we think we should be. Or who others’ think we should be.
We are bombarded by opinions of who we should be and rarely do we measure up. So we run faster on the hamster wheel of career, money, status and approval – without recognizing that none of those things is bringing us closer to being happy.
To become happy, then, we must get off the hamster wheel. We must decide to be our authentic self. We must reject the dreams that others have for our lives, and embrace what makes us unique and what makes us shine brightest. We must quit comparing ourselves to some theoretical self where we adjudge ourselves lacking. Instead of worrying about what others are thinking or doing, we must look solely to ourselves to determine if we are fulfilling our potential in harmony with our talents, interests and principles.
It is not always simple, but making daily conscious steps towards who we wish to be leads us to happiness.