I’ve given up on happiness.
No, this isn’t some dark manifesto on the virtue of cynicism in the modern world.
Choosing to no longer pursue happiness has been a gift, a blessing!
Many of us have erroneously been brought up to believe that the end goal is happiness.
“I just want you to be happy.”
Haven’t we all either heard this from our own parents, or — for those of us who are parents ourselves — even said it to our children?
If we stop to think about it, we have to admit that it isn’t the kindest thing to wish for someone. Aside from being unrealistic, it wouldn’t be that great to have our entire human experience reduced to a single emotion.
Just as light shines brightest in the darkness, the stormy times in our lives serve as a contrast for the sunny ones. Without the darkness, would we even recognize the light?
Of course, we want to experience happy moments, but I want to experience all the emotions. I want to have all the feels.
Isn’t that what makes us truly human?
One of the saddest things in the modern world is the inability of so many of us to withstand our own emotions. We distract ourselves from feeling them, we often deny them, and some even hide from them in the tangle of addiction.
When we don’t allow ourselves to feel it all, we aren’t really living; we can’t be truly alive.
Therefore, instead of seeking happiness, I’ve decided to choose joy.
What’s the difference?
I recently read that happiness is dancing outside on a sunny day, but joy is the ability to dance outside when it’s raining.
Happiness is fleeting. Joy is a choice.
Beloved, no matter what we’ve been through, whether we’ve gone through divorce, lost a loved one, had to declare bankruptcy, quarreled with family, gone through an identity crisis — and I’ve dealt with all of these — no matter what, we can always choose joy.
Choosing joy doesn’t mean you fake it; it doesn’t mean you pretend to be happy when you aren’t. Choosing joy means that you embrace your humanity — all of it — and that doing so makes you want to dance in the rain because you know you’re fully alive!
So, what will you choose today? Will you continue seeking happiness, or will you choose joy?