Most people want to be happy, and most of us have experienced happiness albeit briefly from time to time throughout our lives. The rest of our days are either consumed in pursuit of the things we believe will make us happy or the resignation that life will never be perfect and we will never be happy.
What we all want and what we all deserve is enduring happiness.
The privilege of my vocation is to work with patients of every age in health and illness, through crisis and challenge, from the moment of birth to the end of life. I am witness to their changes with growth and the changes of aging. I guide young parents, couples and the widowed in the challenges of their own emotions and relationships.
What I have learned from my patients is that happiness is not always what we think it is. Though we consume our energies in pursuit of it, we are often disappointed when we get what we want. When we’ve lost something or someone we value, we recognize happiness in its absence which brings us all the more sorrow.
My other great teachers have been my family. My parents taught me that happiness is best experienced by loving fully and without judgment, living a life of integrity, and acting – beyond our own self-interests – for others and things bigger than ourselves.
The journey of parenting with my wife has given me the opportunity to live the way of happiness modeled by my parents. To be a parent is to share the joy of new life and responsibility, to live and give for someone else, to appreciate the simple pleasures of family life, to see the perfect infant in the imperfect teen, to let go of the little things and to stand up for what matters most, to be humble and to be strong.
Happiness is more than pleasure. Enduring happiness cannot be found in a pill, in drugs, in alcohol or in sex. Happiness is not a place or time when everything is perfect, where we will have everything we want. It can’t be found in the past, in a shopping mall or a catalog, in a new car or in a new home. It is not the perfect partner, the perfect job or a million dollars.
Like our bodies and our state of health and our own natures as human beings, life is not perfect. When it appears to be, it’s just an illusion, because we and life itself are ever changing.
But with our imperfect selves, connected in our imperfect relationships and in our imperfect lives, we can still be happy.
If you’re ready to take a fresh look at life, question self-limiting beliefs and discover enduring happiness, join me in “A Hundred Days to Happiness.” Beginning February 1st, I will share the insights I’ve learned from my patients, friends and family. Each day, I will post one new insight on facebook.com/davidicus.wong, twitter.com/DrDavidicusWong and my blog, davidicuswong.wordpress.com.