“If I can just have [insert what you think will make you happy], I know I’ll be happy.”
How many times have we each repeated those words to ourselves, hoping that the acquirement of that one thing would satiate the aching emptiness that terrorizes our nights?
Buying a home, having children, getting married- getting divorced, and attaining wealth, have all been used as escape routes. We’ve all experienced life on the run, torturing ourselves by entering into an endless marathon of fleeing away from the realities that haunt us. The finish line is a cruel mirage, as we find that every time we think we’ve conquered it, we’ve only transitioned into an alternate phase of longing.
It’s a devastating defeat.
Unstoppable, we grease our hands with our tears and sweat, as we choose another item from the menu, and press replay on our journey to happiness. It sometimes takes years for us to wake up and realize that we’ve been selecting from the wrong menu all along. Running away will only numb our pain, but it will not dissipate until we face what has held true from the beginning.
If we don’t stop to assess the importance of a specific goal in our life, we will spend our time becoming familiar with that path of disappointment. I don’t encourage doubt, but I do believe it’s healthy to dissect why we crave certain things, and confirm that they are for the right reasons. Understanding the motives of our actions leads to the revelation of what we are truly after. If there is anything we want in our lives because we feel like it will complete us, we want it for the wrong reason. If we expect something as wonderfully created as ourselves to be fulfilled by one specific thing, we have much learning to do.
How can money bring us happiness, when we are worth more?
How can another person complete who we are, when we’re not sure of ourselves?
Out of fear, we bury our potential in the bosom of shiny things. It’s like getting a new toy- we abandon the broken one to become engulfed in distraction over the shine of our newest edition. Eventually, the gleam dulls, and the new toy begins to wear. As we toss it into the pile of undesirables, we realize that, like the others, it’s just a piece of plastic.
What beautiful things we can destroy through self indulgence.
A couple of years ago, that gut wrenching feeling of emptiness became a wild fire in the desert of my soul. It moved fiercely as it set ablaze everything in its path. I felt abandoned, like the oxygen that gave life to my lungs had picked up and moved to another world- one where I couldn’t follow. In search of air, I grasped on to anything that looked like it could offer an off brand of happiness. My final break was when I decided to move to San Diego. There, I knew I would find what I was looking for.
It is in those moments of pure desperation that we are forced to cling to our truths.
I didn’t make the move to San Diego, but that year my life was shattered in ways I didn’t think imaginable. To my surprise, it was the year that I learned the most about myself. I came to understand that my happiness had never taken up residence in a job, place, person or thing. It was always in me. It was about a journey to self discovery and acceptance. Joy can never come from the acquirement of more things, for its foundation is in you.
The one thing you think will bring you life has the greatest potential of killing you. Instead, allow yourself to be enhanced, by: marriage, children, wealth, and etcetera. If you’ve laid a healthy foundation within yourself, then your desires will come from a pure place. No one thing, outside of God, will ever bring you complete satisfaction.
Your happiness can be complemented by other things, but never created from them.