Through my personal and professional experiences, I have found that many of us are in the pursuit of happiness. However, this pursuit can seemingly be a bottomless pit, because when we finally get the “thing” that makes us happy, we start believing there is something else that would make us more happy. Thus, the pursuit continues and becomes a never ending chase.
My journey has taught me thus far that the pursuit of happiness must start from within us and is best discovered and developed through these 6 essential ways:
1. Knowing your worth and purpose in Christ.
Without first understanding that each of us were born on purpose and for a purpose, we will never truly know our worth and find our happiness. Consider what the chances were that you were chosen to make it through in the reproduction process. Then ask yourself, "Why were you chosen? What is your purpose?"
You are meant to be here and do something worthwhile because God knows that you are worthy. He made the choice to create you—you then have to make the choice to make life worth living by fulfilling the purpose He has for you. He intends for you to become more like Him and harvest the talents He blessed you with in order to serve one another.
2. Understanding that life is a journey.
Once we understand that God created us for a purpose and that He created us in His image, it means that we are not only hardwired to become the best version of ourselves throughout life’s journey, but also to love and support others to do the same. This is where true happiness is found. However, because we are on this journey of self-worth, servitude, happiness and peace, the devil will try that much harder to keep us unhappy, isolated and broken. Therefore, he will use our insecurities and fears against us to stop us from moving forward on this journey.
Anxiety and depression can be seen as warning signs that we are not addressing the issues we need to resolve in our lives or living the lives God intended for us to live, so they are stopping us dead in our tracks until we address and resolve them and become who God wants us to become. Once we do, we can overcome those road blocks and continue on our journey of living a purpose-driven, worthwhile life.
3. Understanding that mistakes and failures are part of the plan.
When we can truly understand that God knew every choice and mistake we would make before He created us and still chose to create us, then we can feel more free to fully experience this journey of life. We can therefore embrace that it will be inevitable for us to make mistakes and have failures because it is part of the road map.
When you make a mistake, you might disapprove of yourself. This is healthy and normal, because if you did not, you might never learn from your mistakes and end up hurting yourself or others Therefore, it is important for you to know your worth in God so that you can have self-love and learn from your experience in a curious, non-judgmental way, instead of beating yourself up or wanting to quit.
4. Understanding your experience.
Instead of trying to fix your emotions or your reactions, which can make you frustrated with yourself, how can you understand them better? It is helpful to be curious about what your feelings are trying to communicate to you (because they are always communicating), so that you can get some insight into your experience and facilitate you on your journey towards self-growth and self-worth. The more you embrace each moment, the more you embrace yourself which influences your happiness.
5. Understanding how to nourish yourself.
Once you can understand your experience, it is important to ask yourself what you need to take care of yourself. Pay attention to your dysfunctional behaviors and reflect on which needs you are trying to meet through them. Every dysfunctional behavior serves a function in your life because it is trying to fill your emotional hunger, whether it be comfort, control, validation, acceptance, attention or some other need you are being deprived of.
You can also begin to understand some of the side effects that you experience when you do not meet your needs, such as addictions, self-harm, depression, and anxiety. By acknowledging your deeper needs, you can then make a plan to intentionally meet them in a healthier way. Once you understand and feed your emotional hunger, you will better understand your symptoms of starvation which can lead to profound self-forgiveness and ultimately self-love.
6. Practicing personal responsibility.
One major road block on our journey towards self-nourishment, self-worth and happiness is expecting or waiting for others to rescue us and make us happy. No one else has the power to make us happy. They can add to our happiness but we are the only ones who possess the power to make ourselves happy. Although we are not responsible for what others do to us, we are responsible for how we react and allow that to affect us. We get to choose the narrative we want to believe and live by. We are responsible for our own happiness and feelings of worth. Begin to pay attention to which needs you are not meeting because you are putting them into other people’s hands, then ask yourself how you can begin to meet those needs right now by yourself.
If we follow these guidelines, we can live a life worth living and experience true happiness, instead of merely pursuing it.