Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no
to the desires that drain you.
They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. I don’t think anything could be closer to the truth, and yet all too often we find ways of complicating things for ourselves. We look for happiness where it does not exist – in shallow goals and desires – in possessions, quick thrills, and impressing the wrong people.
Angel and I were recently reminded of this when we met a family of six staying at a hotel in Miami where we were vacationing. We saw them hanging out in the lobby, sharing stories and laughing hysterically. So on our way out, Angel and I said hello to them and asked where they were from. “Oh, we’re from here,” the mother said. “Our house burned down to the ground yesterday, but miraculously, all of us made it out safely. And that makes today a day worth smiling about.”
Talk about a wake-up call. Some people might say they had lost everything, and yet this family knew better – they knew they had it all. Because there really is nothing like joyful tears and deep breaths after a long, hard laugh with the people you love – nothing in the whole world like a sore stomach for the right reasons and a grateful heart to back it up. That’s a situation where true happiness is surely found.
And there are many other sources of true happiness as well. But as I’ve said, there are also lots of common traps – goals and desires that we think will bring us happiness, but actually do the exact opposite. Recognizing these traps is the key. In fact, I believe one of the best feelings comes when you realize that you can be perfectly happy without the things you once thought you needed.
With this in mind, consider the ten goals and desires (traps) below and how they may be holding you back. Each of them is popular in our culture, and thus common in our lives, but rather than contributing to our happiness, they rob us of it.
So say it out loud with me:
“To be happier, I do NOT need…”
- To please everyone – Be careful not to give so much of yourself to others that you end up completely losing yourself. When you go around pleasing everyone but yourself, you are the one that gets hurt in the end. The late and great Herbert Bayard Swope said it like this: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” That is spot on advice if you ask me. Because truthfully, you are never going to please everyone anyway. At some point you will hold an unpopular opinion – one that gives you meaning and makes you feel alive. And when you do, you ought to hold on tight, tune out the noise, and make it count. [Read more…]