Happiness Is Not Getting What You Want

My favourite saying since I was a teenager has been “happiness is not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.”

If you are able to appreciate your family, friends, colleagues and the blessings you have received without constantly looking over the wall to see if the grass is greener on the other side, you may have actually found happiness.

So, why are so many people unhappy?

Are we spending too much time looking for something bigger and better instead of investing in what is right in front of us? Is there actually someone or something better? Or are we settling?

I think these are ongoing questions that have different answers for each person. How do we find personal happiness?

For me, I’m a little old fashioned and miss the more traditional, simple, East Coast lifestyle I grew up with. I miss seeing children playing outside, having long face-to-face conversations, eating dinner together as a family, no cell phones and traditional courtship. It has been replaced with kids inside on a sunny day, texting; Uber Eats; hook-up culture; over-consumption of everything and online dating.

Have we evolved? I’m not sure if there is a good answer.

I feel like we have lost a bit of the special human touch and have replaced it with something less human and colder, and its literally swallowing some of the good facets that make life special.

How do we fix it?

Personally I’ve literally pushed my son to play outside for years so he finally realizes how great it is to play in the sunshine versus playing against a machine. I love the satisfying feeling of preparing a meal for someone and taking the time to enjoy it versus going through the drive through and eating in the car.

I’ve realized that the feeling you receive from meeting someone face to face and communicating trumps cruising online for a date. I wish the millennials of today could embrace a little bit of the more traditional values they missed out on. It’s challenging, when they haven’t actually experienced what our generation has.

How do we advance while maintaining the good bits of humanity and share the Gen X and Baby Boomer traditions?

The reality is — we have become more individualized than ever, and that is a tremendous thing. No one should be placed into one category and be expected to behave a certain way, speak a certain way and adapt others beliefs.

However, if we could all adapt a sense of humility, kindness and grace with the changing world we might just do okay. With every generational change and advancement comes new opportunity to evolve into greatness. But it seems, many forget to rise with greatness; to mentor, coach and teach the best that we have in each of us.

Instead, we are literally killing ourselves and each other to survive. Over-consuming at every level in theory should bring happiness yet we are left with the ongoing feeling of emptiness.

A student asked me recently what inspired my mentor to become the great man that he is. It’s simple — family.

If you can ground yourself and humble yourself to love unconditionally; to treasure the people you call “family” and not to treasure “things” we might have a shot at thriving and not just surviving.

At the end of each crazy, tumultuous day we stumble home wearily to our residences and rest. There is no greater feeling then being greeted with the love from a child, a spouse or a friend.

Embrace and hold up the people in your life that you treasure; count your blessings each day and remember that life is not a dress rehearsal. There is no second chance at life. Live it well and by making life better for someone else — you yourself will be become much happier.

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About Jennifer Branco