Finding Joy

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it hard to find joy with how crazy the world is. Every time I turn on the news, I hear something traumatic creating anxiety and frustration. I feel hopeless with current events allowing it to steal my inner joy.

Many of us, including myself, turn towards materialism and worldly success as distraction hoping it will find the joy we have lost. But this is not the path to long-term joy and happiness.

When you use material things or accomplishments to make you happy, it’s only temporary. The truth is happiness comes from within. When you choose to find happiness within yourself, it’s long-lasting. Nothing external can bring lasting joy. If you wait until the tragedies of the world dissipate before you find happiness, you will be waiting forever.

Most of us fall into the trap of “Someday” thinking. Someday when I have more money, I will be happy. Someday, when I find my romantic partner, I will be happy. Someday, I when I find the perfect career, I will be happy. Someday, when the political environment changes, I will be happy. And so on.

While these things bring momentary happiness, none of them will last forever. “Someday” thinking is flawed because you rely on external things to make you happy. In our society, you are taught if you work the hardest, succeed at your goals and hustle your way to the top, you will be happy.

But this mindset feeds into the materialist culture leading to wanting more. Every time you achieve that thing to make you happy, you need the next thing to make you happy. The goal post of happiness constantly moves forward being a few steps ahead and out of reach.

Looking towards the external for joy brings frustration and disappointment because everything is impermanent. All things come into existence and fades away into extinction. Like a wave rising high and crashing down melting into the sea. When we cling to our desires and are attached to our situations, it causes pain and suffering because things will inevitably change.

If you are unhappy before achieving material success, your unhappiness will magnify when you achieve material success. Happiness cannot be fulfilled with the material if a deep void already exists within your heart. It is only through contentment with who you are and your life as it is, can you find happiness. Creating a deeper connection with God, who will fill the void in your heart, will create peace that surpasses all understanding.

While it’s a good thing to be content with ourselves and our lives, I do believe it’s important to become a better person than you were yesterday. Continuing to evolve, growing on our spiritual path, learning to love others, healing our negative habits, and progressing in our careers are all wonderful things to work towards. And we should. But living in a state of happiness every step of the way regardless of the outcome creates a more joyful and peaceful life.

When working towards a goal with happiness in your heart from the beginning, the decisions you make will be positive and rooted in integrity. You will be guided by God to stay on the right path enjoying the journey along the way. Obstacles will be seen as challenges. Achievements will be seen as opportunities to serve others. Slow progress will be seen as way to build patience and endurance.

The key to unlocking happiness is looking deep in your heart and finding happiness right where you. Here and now. You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to be happy. You only need yourself to open the door and see what lies within.

Now I am not negating any hardships or trauma you or anyone else is experiencing right now. The situation you are in won’t change because you are learning to be happy. It won’t be light switch to turn rough times into good times. But it will give you the motivation and strength to get through the difficulties with the seed of hope planted in your spirit to make the changes necessary to improve your life.

When you have hope, equanimity, and faith, you’ll have the stamina and endurance to reach the other side. Having the space to allow happiness throughout this process creates a deep joy and peace tied to the internal instead of external.

And it’s the internal joy and happiness that lasts for years to come.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

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