Our Founding Fathers created these words as part of the Declaration of Independence. Congress further honed them to this final version:
“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.”
Pursuit: “the action of following or pursuing someone or something.”
I don’t know about you, but in thinking about it, we’ve somehow been led to believe that “happiness” is something to pursue, something we don’t already have?
While I do not claim to be as brilliant as our Founding Fathers, why didn’t they say, among these are Life, Liberty, and the preservation of Happiness?
Why can’t we just be happy? I say we can! And yes, “stuff” happens to interrupt it. However, stuff will always happen. Life has a way of intermittently introducing roadblocks and detours. The continuation of happiness becomes a choice, raising the question, How can I be happy while the stuff of life keeps getting in the way?
Not to diminish stuff, some extremely devastating, and happiness is still a choice.
Here are several lessons I have learned in my eighty-plus years…
The first is that in the middle of the storm, the good things in our life are still there. When we stop to think about it, even during a severe storm, the good things in our lives don’t go away!
Sometimes we get down in the dumps from one thing or another. These are the times when we stop to consider the upsides of life to strengthen our love and focus on the good stuff. This speaks directly to counting our blessings and being grateful. The happiness gets interrupted, and in every instance, the interruption is short-lived, and happiness recovers.
Despite the occasional impact of stuff, we can right our ship and live with happiness! In essence, we choose to see and dwell in the good. And, preferring to see and dwell in the good extends into how we see others. We choose to see the good!
Just as in life, it’s easy to dwell on the downside of circumstances, the stuff. It is also easy to look for and stay on the downside of people we meet and interact with. For whatever reason, doing so detracts us from our happiness! For ours and your own sake, choose to see the good in others. Aside from joy, in my judgment, we will both stand a good chance of having more friends.
Finally, we choose to live one day at a time and start each day with gratitude and thankfulness. We look to have a fun day living in the now, as Eckhart Tolle wrote in his book, The Power of Now.
“The power of now will help balance your life by subduing the thoughts of your past and the future and focusing on the present moment, which itself is the truest path to being happy.”
These life lessons are available to you every day if you so choose. Life is short. Why not live it with a sense of joy and happiness. It’s more than a pursuit. It’s a choice. Here’s to you and your preferences and your happiness!
This gray-haired interpretation of our “unalienable Rights” related to the pursuit of happiness is “the preservation of Happiness!” Despite life’s challenges, we each have the ongoing right to be happy!