We seek happiness, and we find it in many places.
When I was a kid, I had a Charlie Brown book by Charles Schulz called “Happiness Is.” It was part of a whole series and reminded us of the simple pleasures of our lives, including a warm blanket (if you’re Linus) and a warm puppy (e.g. Snoopy).
Of course, Charlie Brown needed these simple pleasures to make it through his difficult childhood, punctuated by multiple missed pop flies and bullying by Lucy. I am hopeful that he eventually got real psychotherapy (more than 5 cents worth), discovered a greater sense of self-worth and found lasting happiness.
Charles Schulz’s Peanuts happiness series was not unlike today’s 1000 Awesome Things – the popular website and series of books by Neil Pasricha. These are the things that evoke warm, fuzzy feelings and make our daily lives more livable.
One of the warm, fuzzy moments of my Christmas was opening a present from my daughter (who always evokes warm, fuzzy feelings in me just by being herself), The Book of (Holiday) Awesome.
The new car smell and the new toy feeling are uplifting (albeit transiently) experiences that most of us can identify with. There is the excitement and pleasure of a first kiss, and the thrill of a roller coaster ride. These moments of joy are part of roller coaster ride that is life.
We can live our lives sustained by these moments of happiness. They can get us through the slow and tough times.
But what can inspire and energize us throughout each day – even during the low points in our lives – is a more enduring form of happiness. It is happiness of a different quality. It is the real thing. It is name-brand happiness. Maybe it should be capitalized: Happiness; don’t be fooled by imitations.
It can be found (1) in the search and realization of meaning in your daily life, (2) in living for something bigger than your self, (3) in connecting to others at a personal, emotional and spiritual level, and (4) in finding your unique place in the world.
This is authentic happiness – the real deal. Don’t waste your money and your life on counterfeits. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life, but realize that there is more to life . . . and more to live for.