Seems happiness isn’t the ONLY purpose in life

Famed writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

I find his rather candid statement to be somewhat contradictory.

After all, thousands of self- help gurus have written countless books on the subject of personal happiness and now all of a sudden Mr. Emerson is saying that “the purpose of life is not to be happy”? I don’t get it!

But in all seriousness folks, I do get it.

When our lives come to an end, and they all will someday, the only thing that will matter is how much good you did for someone besides yourself – how you’ve helped mankind in even the smallest of ways. In short, it’s one of the best roads you can travel to discover the purest form of happiness this world has to offer.

I say with great humility that I’m not a selfish individual – though admittedly, I’m human so I’m sure there have been occasions from time to time. But overwhelmingly, I do what I can to lend a helping hand, a compassionate heart and an ever-ready smile wherever needed. While I might not be changing the world with my simple acts of kindness, there’s a personal satisfaction one receives after helping someone else without any conditions. And I guess you could say that does in fact make you feel happy at the end of the day.

I have no idea what makes some people so incredibly self-serving – so wrapped up in their own lives that they care very little for the lives of those around them. But our world seems to be full of them, and I have no reservations in saying that the only use they seem to have is adding to the continued demise of our society.

So whether it’s for a charity, a friend, a neighbor or even your own family, remember that making yourself happy should never be the only goal you strive for. For as Leo Buscaglia once remarked, “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”