happy are those
In a few weeks, I’ll be releasing my new book on Kindle. This small guidebook contains all the best wisdom I have about how to navigate this thing called life. Here’s a sneak peak at the opening pages…
Just say the word and you can feel it in your very bones, the presence or the absence of it: happy. Happiness is tied to the human heart, the human spirit, and the universal human search for the meaning of life. For most of human history, happy was intimately tethered to the wisdom of God, but today psychology and philosophy have stepped in to help us discover the root truths of happiness free from the burden of faith.
Martin Seligman, a leading 21st-century researcher in positive psychology describes happiness as having three parts: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Pleasure is the “feel good” part of happiness. Engagement refers to living a “good life” of work, family, friends, and hobbies. Meaning refers to using our strengths to contribute to a larger purpose—to making an impact for good in the world. Seligman says that all three are important, but that of the three, engagement and meaning make the most difference in living a happy life.
With all this clarity about the nature of happiness it’s curious, then, that our modern era is so filled with people suffering from depression, anxiety, isolation, despair, hopelessness, purposelessness, and feelings of deep insignificance. Maybe our love of individualism has made healthy engagement in community impossible. Maybe the sea of competitiveness we’ve created for ourselves to swim in has forced meaning to the back burner. Or perhaps we’ve been extracting happiness more from pleasure than engagement or meaning, undermining all three. How many of us find ourselves overdoing some “guilty pleasure” until it starts creating more guilt, boredom, or destruction than delight?
The road to happiness was never easy, but it was always clear.