Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.

~ Bill Cosby ~

I Want to Be Happy Right Now

April 29th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 57 secs

Sure, I want to be happy. Who doesn't?

“ I want to be happy right now. Can you do it?” My answer: yes and no. Yes, if being happy means something deeper than your feelings. No, if you are only after a buzz.

Around the world people say, “I want to be happy. Don’t I deserve to be?” But the simplicity of these questions belies their complexity. What does being happy mean? And do we really “…deserve to be”?

We hold these truths to be self-evident… that all men are endowed… with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (US Constitution). When Thomas Jefferson included that last phrase, he was certainly shaping history. Suddenly, saying, “I want to be happy” became an acceptable statement.

Apart from the conclusions of the odd philosopher or two, the common idea that anyone should want to be happy as a goal in life was new. That it became the basis of a new nation was radical.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and nobody would bat an eyelid if you declared, “I want to be happy.” Of course you do. It’s your right to be happy. Or is it?  Pursuing happiness is one thing. Having the right is another. Yet, I do believe that everyone does deserve to be deeply happy if they live in ways that create it.

As it is, lots of people want to be happy minus the substance of character to support it.  If I say I want to be happy right now and go on a pleasure binge to get all the pleasure I can, that might work… for a while. But, in the end, I’d be fed up with pleasures and still be yearning for something more. My inner child would still want extra, even as my ability to appreciate continued to depreciate (like a spoilt brat, apathy would rob my happiness).

That you and I want to be happy is a good thing. But to find lasting happiness we must make it.  By living with dignity, you create the ideal conditions for being happy without even looking for it. Isn’t it funny, that the thing we long and look for is best prepared by ourselves and discovered without seeking it?

To pursue happiness without qualities like gratitude, humility, and compassion prevents people from getting past the first level. They stay stuck in the gimme, gimme, gimme phase of “I want to be happy right now and make it snappy!”  For them, lasting happiness will always prove elusive. But for you using your qualities, a lifetime of satisfaction will come. Not in endless pleasures, and certainly not without struggle. But with an enduring fulfillment that comes from giving love, and daring to live what you truly believe. Somehow, I get the impression that’s what Jefferson meant.


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