- Their daughter called saying she just found porn on her husband’s notebook. In tears she asked mom to come pick up the kids so she could talk to her husband about her discovery.
- The doctor informed the parents they have to do brain surgery on their 16 year-old son. He’s a very sick boy. He died during surgery.
- After 27 years of marriage he told her he was leaving and he didn’t love her anymore. He wanted a divorce.
- The utilities are due. The house payment hasn’t been made for months. The kids are hungry. The check is still “in the mail.”
If happiness is a choice why are so many of us unhappy?
I cannot tell you how to avoid trouble, difficulty or disappointments,
as you go through life. You and I will have opposition. However, there is a way to be “happy” while experiencing trials and tribulations. We can’t control the circumstances of life. We can control our own happiness and how we view those circumstances.
Besides, most of us have already learned that our happiness cannot be dependent upon our circumstances –having or being certain things. That is, happiness is not dependent upon how much money we have; how much and what kind of clothes we can wear; the kind of houses we are able to live in; whether our body is healthy or not; if our friends are in the “in-crowd”; and things like that.
In other words. happiness does not depend upon whether you have one red cent in the bank or a million dollars. Happiness does not depend on whether you live in the slum or a palace, wear homemade clothes or furs. Happiness is not associated with whether you are in a wheelchair or running marathons. In fact, if you think about it – the “pursuit of happiness” in “having or doing these things” is what keeps us from being happy!
Happiness is not just a choice. It begins with a choice but requires us to follow the path that leads to happiness. It takes effort and determination to successfully follow any mountain path, even the path to happiness.
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 255–56)
That doesn’t mean God expects us to be perfect. He knows we won’t be. But He does expect that while we are here on earth we try to the best of our ability to be more like Him and that we learn and grow from life challenges. Following “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8) eventually leads to happiness (dah…You think? – It’s a law – “he that keepeth the law, happy is he” –Proverbs 29:18).
FOLLOW THE PATH OF HAPPINESS
Happiness is defined in the Book of Mormon by the prophet-king Benjamin as
… the blessed and happy state of those [that] keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual. (Mosiah 2:41)
Dieter F. Uchtdorf says it this way:
The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness. … We determine our happiness.” (“Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign Nov. 2012)
And how could we forget The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
Happiness in Family Life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps David O. McKay summed it up the best:
Wherein then does the secret of happiness lie? The Savior gives us the key to it when he says: “The kingdom of God is within you.” … Happiness is not an external condition, it is a state of the spirit and an attitude of the mind. (Gospel Ideals: Selections From The Discourses of David O Mckay, Chapter 36: Philosophy of Happiness, Pg. 495)
Happiness doesn’t work that way.
It is not a gift.
and following a certain path.
I’m trying to persuade you to look for happiness inside you – like “between your left and right ear” and earn it like a paycheck – by how you live –
so that when the trouble comes,
when your difficulties arise,
when you face disappointments,
you can still experience happiness.
DON’T FORGET #1: Don’t forget a person with mental illness has less ability to experience happiness in the way described above. See: YEA! For Elder Holland’s Talk on Mental Illness.
DON’T FORGET #2: Don’t forget “Pleasure” and “Happiness” are two different things. See: Pleasures of Sin
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