Image by Marie Vonow
We often hear people say they will be happy when
... Perhaps they believe happiness would come if they came into money, got a job, got a better job, had a bigger house or car. Maybe they think they would be happy when they lose weight, get a partner or have a baby. However, that's not the way happiness works. It's not something tangible which can be given away, received or earned. It isn't an end result or a destination.
Roy Goodman, an American politician said, 'Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.' American author and motivational speaker, Denis Waitley extended this thought by saying, 'Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.'
Mindfulness and feeling gratitude
are connected with being happy. Enjoying the little pleasures in daily life rather than feeling one can't be happy until achieving the next goal are what I believe is meant by 'happiness is a way of travel'.
However, even if one usually lives in the moment and fills out a gratitude journal daily, one isn't going to feel happy all
the time. That's okay. The important thing is that you are capable
of feeling happy.
Some people feel one can make a decision to be happy by concentrating on the positive in life. Abraham Lincoln said, 'Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.' Generally I would agree with this but I feel there are tragic or horrific events that occur in the lives of some people which override attempts to look at the bright side of life. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was thinking of these types of circumstances when he said 'most.
' The good news is that with time many of these people will be able to feel happy again, even if memories sometimes make them have episodes of feeling negative and bleak.
While doing an internet search I came across a condition called anhedonia,
the inability to get enjoyment from activities which people usually find pleasurable. These include music, sexual activities, walking and other forms of exercise, hobbies and connecting with other people. If someone suffers anhedonia they aren't going to get a happiness boost from participating in the types of things other people find beneficial. Fortunately there is treatment available which helps most people experiencing anhedonia.
There are people who have a hormone imbalance which results in Depression or a condition which limits the effectiveness of strategies often recommended for boosting happiness. Various treatments and therapies can help alleviate many of these issues. However, it sometimes takes time and patience to find the right practitioner and a treatment that works.
The majority of people are capable of being happy but accumulating wealth and material possessions and the like don't bring lasting happiness. There may be an initial boost in happiness on achieving a promotion or other goal but soon the person will return to their usual level (set point) of happiness. It does seem happiness is a way of travel, or put another way, it's about the journey.