The Search for Happiness

Happiness in itself is not a worthwhile goal to live for. To be happy all of the time is unreal, as happiness is only one of life's great emotions. To be in touch with all of one's feelings is more important than being happy all of the time. To feel sad, hurt, angry, afraid, and unhappy at the appropriate times is both normal and healthy. However, if one is unhappy most of the time, this is nature's way of telling him that something is missing in his life or some conflict needs resolving.

To be happy, one also needs to have worthwhile work into which one can put one's best efforts.

Everybody has some talents, and to find personal fulfillment and happiness, it is important that he discover his gifts, receive adequate training to sharpen them, and find a place to use them. This is equally true for both men and women.

It is a wise man who helps his wife find, develop, and use her special gifts. He will reap just rewards through his wife's increased fulfillment and happiness.

However, at times of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, finding fulfilling work through employment may not always be possible for everybody. However, there are many avenues to find work fulfillment other than through paid work. If one is creative, one can get involved in arts and crafts and perhaps sell some of the items made. One can help many others by becoming involved in church work or with other service agencies.

"If you find a really happy man," states one author, "you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, or growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a button that has rolled under the wardrobe, he will not be striving for it as a goal in itself, he will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life to the full twenty-four hours of the day.

To love and be loved is without
question our greatest need for
happiness, without which is our
greatest source of unhappiness.

The happy person also has healthy relationships with other people.

The person who lives only for himself is immature and usually very miserable. Even the ancient Greeks had a word for the self-centered person. It was "idios" from which we get our word, "idiot." It means belonging to one's self.

To love and be loved is without question our greatest need for happiness, without which is our greatest source of unhappiness.

Without love all else in life is meaningless. Once again, however, love comes from within. If we give love we will receive love. That is a law of life. Unfortunately, many people, especially in childhood, were hurt because of a lack of love and as adults are afraid to love for fear of being hurt again. Through careful counseling this fear can usually be overcome.

Character and a well-integrated self are also essential for personal happiness. If the self is whole or mature, happiness will follow.

The greatest man who ever lived, Jesus Christ, is our great example. He developed in every area of his life. He "increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52). That is, he matured mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We need to do the same.

Finally, a clear conscience is needed for personal wholeness and happiness. To feel forgiven for all the wrongs one has done gives one a deep sense of freedom. Any wrongs, therefore, that we have done need to be put right and any impaired relationships resolved. Not only do we need our brother's forgiveness, but also God's. When we confess our sins and faults to Him, He always forgives us. We then need to forgive ourselves.

Click HERE for the Happiness Test on the website of ACTS International.

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