I’ve spent a few hours this afternoon counseling a young woman I love very much.
She is conflicted and confused about her future. She’s feels she’s a disappointment to others. I let her know she was not a disappointment to us.
We talked about a lot of things.
- Her immediate future,
- What she wants to do with her life,
- The kind of person she wants to be,
- Her faith.
It got me to thinking.
What is success anyway? How do we define it? What criteria do we use?
The first criteria might be happiness. Are we successful if we are happy?
The second is criteria is how I started this paragraph. What is success?
Obviously, these will be my definitions as certainly success and happiness and how we define them for ourselves are unique to each of us. But I think we can agree that there a general guidelines that have been used for years. Instead of writing a very long post, I’m breaking it up into a smaller posts. I want to explore happiness a little more in depth over the next week or so. Obviously, it would require a book to do the subject justice. I will try to post in order but it may not turn out that way as this is a busy couple of weeks and I may want to throw in some less serious posts as we will be at Teeney Tiny Red Cabin for a while.
First of all, can we say, “As long we’re happy that’s all that matters.”
I mean, Is happiness a criteria for anything? And seriously, what is happiness anyway? Has anyone ever really come up with a universal definition? Can there even be a universal definition that applies to individuals?
So Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines happiness first as “the state of being happy.” Duh!
So how is “happy” defined?
: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.
: showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment
So can we agree that happiness is a “feeling”? And as we all know feelings come and go all the time. So if we’re banking on our feelings to be happy, we are going to experience a roller-coaster ride our entire life.
Or how about this.
that turns into this?
I know I said all the right things a young woman her age needs to hear but does it ring true in my own life?
I know that in theory I believe it to be true, this whole business of “being” rather than “doing”. But I also know in my own life, I seem much more caught up in the “doing” than in the “being”.
Seriously, my favorite phrase in the world is, “Doing does it”. (My husband hates it.)
I’ve just finished the Sermon on the Mount. Not anywhere does Jesus suggest that happiness is the ultimate goal for anyone. Nowhere does Jesus heal anyone’s unhappiness. Nor does Jesus even address happiness, not directly. For today I suggest you think about how you would define happiness and whether you believe there is at least a general umbrella of definition that covers all of us. More tomorrow.