Is There a Hole in Your Happiness?
The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
– Joseph Addison
Why would this simple thought throw me into a tailspin?
Well, it wouldn’t now.
Today, it has the opposite effect, because I have all three essentials workin’ for me.
But let me take you back to a different time … a different emotional state … and a very different outlook on life.
It’s 1991. I’m in my 30’s … and my husband has just died.
I’ve lost the person I loved most in the world.
The work I was doing at the time felt meaningless.
And the worst part of it was I really couldn’t find anything substantive to hope for!
The only thing I had going for me was the vague hope that somehow, some day, I’d feel better than this.
I was miserable.
I know far too many of you can relate.
Something’s happened that’s powerful enough to turn your world to sorrow, and it’s a hard time right now.
I get it.
So, what do you do? What can you do?
Well, our quote serves as a good guide.
Find something you love. If not a person, it might be something as simple as spending time in nature or gardening or listening to music … or lovin’ on the cat!
Find meaning in your work. If you can’t find meaning, go for genuine satisfaction. And, if neither of those is an option for you, you might just take it as a wake-up call that it’s time to make a change!
Find something to hope for. Okay, let’s get a little more specific. Sure, you can carry with you the generalized hope that brighter days will soon be here. That helps. But do your best to paint the picture of what you want … flesh out those hopes, those wishes, those dreams in as much detail as possible.
And then, go beyond simply hoping things will work out and intend they will. Believe they will. And feel what it’s like to be there.
It took way too much time … but that’s exactly what I did. And it’s what brought me back to the world of the living and beyond … to the world of the truly happy.
Now, for those of you who are pretty happy, the message is equally clear.
Concentrate your time, attention, and love on what really matters in life … the people and activities that bring you joy and satisfaction, making sure to maintain that bright, compelling vision of the future and everything that’s possible for you.
You know what? You probably aren’t gonna be happier if you get that bigger house or car, that fancier toy, or whatever else you may think you want. Owning things can be great, but when it’s all said and done, they’re just things. They won’t love ya back.
What’s really important is to keep the people you love close and let them know EVERY DAY you love them.
And don’t settle for anything less than the trulymeaningful and rewarding when it comes to how you spend the bulk of your time.
Finally, you’ll get so much more enjoyment from life if you’ll think about your future playfully and expectantly … without attachment to outcomes.
There’s a concept I love and live by called “peaceful anticipation.”
I’m peaceful and satisfied with my life right now … AND I’d still like to be, do, and have certain things.
There’s no longing or angst involved. It’s genuine satisfaction with where I am, while still knowing there are more of life’s pleasures I can enjoy. That’s where something to hope for comes in!
Wow … that little quote packs a lot to think about. And whether you’re happy or sad right now doesn’t really matter.
What matters is what comes next, and that’s really up to you.
Whether you’re happy or sad in the future depends in large measure on how good you are at this basic mission of finding something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
I wish you every success.
Enjoy the search.
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