Happiness was once my personal goal in life. And I have learned through many difficult years of my own search for happiness that happiness is merely a temporary, fleeting emotion. Happiness is earthly. An emotion. Happiness does not last. Especially when we live in a society constantly seeking the next big thing, and in a society which conditions us to seek outside or external approval and acceptance. If we place our hearts and hopes in things or people that make us happy, they will always fail us. (I am reading a book now about overachievers, and the need to constantly reach the next level and receive the next reward or recognition. It is exhausting and debilitating. Happiness is always just out of reach, or over too soon, or never good enough, and another level is achievable, so the person is always left empty and unhappy again.) Why would we choose to constantly seek out something new to make us happy if we know we’ll soon be left searching again?
So, I recommend you consider ‘joy’ instead of ‘happiness’ as the goal. Because, there is a difference. Joy is a state of being. Beyond this earth. In a world that loves itself before anything grander, temporary happiness is all that can be achieved. But joy is the utmost understanding of contentedness regardless of what situations we experience in life. Joy is eternal. If you seek joy first, happiness will be an inevitable by-product. Recognition, awards, confidence, feelings of pride and accomplishment, increased passion and creativity, personal and professional growth, inner peace, making the difference in the lives of others, knowing that who you are and what you do matter-these will all come naturally with joy.
There is a famous expression: “Happiness is fleeting, but joy is eternal.”