Day: September 1, 2016

What is the key to happiness?


img_6974“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. ” Bertrand Russell

I just came across this. It got me to thinking. Do I believe that?

Yes, I do with a qualifier. You’ll read my version later.

Next question, “Why?” That’s what I will focus on for today’s post.

My hubby and I were talking the other day about the eighty-three-year-old woman in the United States who just won the largest lottery ever. After taxes she will have over two hundred and seventy million dollars!  I can’t even imagine that.

Our conversation led to whether we would want to win that amount of money. I said I wouldn’t, except for the fact that if I did I could help other people. He said he would and for the same reasons. I’ve had this discussion with many people and most people also say they would like to win that much money because of how they could help others.

But beyond the altruistic motive, here’s why I wouldn’t want to win that much money. You did notice, didn’t you, that I didn’t say I wouldn’t want that much money in my bank account, only that I wouldn’t want to win that much money. That’s because I don’t think anyone has their financial situation abruptly changed without some negative consequences.

Not having everything we want is part of happiness. It’s what inspires us to strive for something, for putting our creative juices at work, for sacrificing in the present for the reward of the future. These are the things that lead to happiness. Wealth by itself has never made anyone completely and permanently happy.

While I think money does buy some things that make our life easier, like health insurance, a good car, a warm home, and good food to eat, they don’t guarantee happiness. Down deep, I think we all know that.

Besides, happiness is more a by-product than something to be pursued for its own sake. “The pursuit of happiness”, guaranteed to Americans by our Bill of Rights isn’t totally accurate. It reads,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  It would read more accurately if it read, “the pursuit of those things that lead to happiness.” The Constitution is not the Bible.

I often tell people how much I love my little cabin and my bunk house and how it’s “My Happy Place”.  Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m delusional because while they’re both adorable, they’re tiny and not the least bit glamorous. They’re not on a river or a lake. They’re not in a great neighborhood. I love it there.

But maybe gratitude is the cornerstone of happiness;  I’ve never met a person who is ungrateful and happy at the same time.

I think Bertrand Russell’s quote is correct but incomplete. So using his quote as a jumping off place, here’s my version:

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness if at the same time, you are grateful for what you already have. “ Bertrand Russell and Rebecca

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

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