Whenever I’m feeling a little down in the dumps, there’s a gentleman at work who’s quick to point out, “You live in a nice house – what do you have to be unhappy about?”
I’m always amused by such statements. I’m not really sure how a house, a car or any material possession can ever be a predicator for happiness. And yet Americans spend more time than they probably should convincing themselves that such “things” will bring them elation.
Let me be the first to tell you – they won’t.
That momentary gratification fades over time, a short time to be exact. What you’re left with is still that emptiness inside – that longing to belong to something; to be unconditionally loved by someone; to be deemed important enough that people want to share in your life and all its experiences.
It’s the people in our lives who bring us true happiness. Their contribution through all the challenges and discoveries we all will inevitably face is what enables our hearts to overflow with a sense of joy.
It’s easy to perceive on the surface that one must be “happy” based on all the material, inanimate “objects” which comprise one’s life. But if you look deeper, you’ll find there’s something missing from the complex equation which makes some of us happier than others.
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Perhaps that is the key to happiness – it’s all about how someone makes you feel.
We don’t often think about how our interactions with others are felt in the heart, but if we did then maybe there would be more happy people out there. People who know what it feels like to be loved, valued, appreciated and respected rather than disappointed and let down.
Yes, I do live in a nice house, I’m healthy and have some money in the bank. Are those things I should find great appreciation in? Absolutely.
However, they do not predicate my happiness on any given day – maybe they should, who knows. I have yet to find the instruction manual that came with this body, so I’m still figuring things out 40 years after production.
All I know is that absence and loneliness do not equal happiness, and I don’t think there’s anyone – especially during the holidays – who doesn’t feel a little twinge of that.
Anne Hathaway once remarked, “Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I’m most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me.”
Take care of those around you for just because everything seems all “shinny” on the outside, doesn’t necessarily mean happiness is present.