The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence says that all Americans have the right of the pursuit of happiness (actual statement is: "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.
") as a God given right, or given to us by your Creator, whatever that may look like for you.
I think many people get hung up on the word happiness and in fact possibly place emphasis where it was not intended.
The idea being that you assume you have the right to be happy and then in turn look to sources outside of yourself to provide it for you.
You look to other people, a job or activities to make you happy.
When that doesn't happen or it begins to fade you think you are in the wrong place, with the wrong person, doing the wrong things.
You start to complain, get frustrated, and argue, often without resolution.
You change jobs, get more training, find different hobbies.
Many relationships break up and families are torn apart because you aren't happy and haven't been for a long time.
What if you turned that around and looked at it in a different way? What if the intention here was to focus on the pursuit of happiness and not on the happiness itself? Everyone has the right to pursue, to find and be happy, in whatever form you might choose.
What happiness looks like is different for each person and it is up to each individual.
That would mean then that happiness is a choice.
That you can be as happy as you make up your mind to be.
That you have the power and the control to create it.
It is up to you.
It's not so much about what you do, as it is about what you bring to it.
In other words, the thoughts you have around it.
Interesting idea.
As I was discussing this with someone close to me, she brought up the idea that happiness is temporary and that Joy is eternal.
Now I hadn't thought of that.
She said, "You have to experience unhappiness in order to know true happiness.
Whereas joy never leaves, it is always there.
" Makes sense.
So happiness comes from things outside of you such as from other people, things or good fortune.
Joy is about the inner self.
Joy comes from things internal, from the soul or the spirit if you will.
Happiness is fleeting, something that only sticks with us for a while, it is joy that lasts and propels us to act again.
It is that inner feeling of contentment, like when a baby is born.
This is a new perspective and it is important because it brings up the point of personal responsibility.
That you are responsible for what you have created in your life and that if you are not happy with a part of it, you can try again.
You can do something different, you can take action.
My friend went on to say, "So joy is eternal, even in the hard times.
We need to experience the hard and/or dark times in order to learn and grow from them.
" That it is through the difficult times that growth occurs, it is all part of your journey.
Even when you are feeling down, hopeless or sad there is always a bright side or a purpose for it.
Once you realize this, you are better able to live your lives in alignment with your priorities and your purpose because you know you are very powerful beings and that you are in control of your lives and your happiness.
You are then better able to make the choices necessary to create the life you want.
Why is this important? This is important because when you feel as though you lack the power or control to create the life you want or to affect the change you'd like to see in your life that can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, uncertainty and possibly even to depression.
It is then that we look to outside sources to make us feel better, the sort of bandaid for our wounds.
When really the better solution is to look inside.
It is when you realize that life is more about the pursuit or the journey and less about the right to be happy that you realize that happiness is a choice.
And that you can do something about!!
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