“The door to happiness opens outward” – the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote. If you push the door to happiness, it closes – but if you step back and stop pushing, it will open and happiness finds you.
Happiness is not something that can be “pursued”. It happens. And it happens most when we are immersed in an activity that fulfils us, when we give to others, when we are connected to what gives us meaning and purpose in our life.
You may question: does life have a meaning? We don’t know. Or as Carl Gustav Jung, the famous psychiatrist said: “I don’t know the meaning of life or the purpose of life, but it looks as if something were meant by it”. What I know personally is that there is a correlation between meaning, purpose, and finding fulfilment and deep happiness in life. That when we stubbornly seek happiness, we can find short term pleasure, but underneath we feel emptiness – and we close the door to happiness. But when we deeply connect to our purpose, we become so engaged in our life that happiness … happens. This does not mean that we never go through tough times and struggles – we will. And yes, sometimes it means that we choose the difficult path of purpose over the easy route to short term pleasure. We make this choice not because pleasure is bad (it’s great ! ), but because we are focused on something larger. And by doing so we find the profound happiness of living a life that is truly ours. A life in which we express to the fullest our talents, what we love, and what we find meaningful. A life of becoming the best versions of ourselves, of who we are at our core.