As fate would have it, in the lives we led before we began helping people deal with loss, we happened to have been acquainted with some of the legendary people who inhabited the worlds of rock ‘n roll, the movies, and television. Sadly, many of them shuffled off this mortal coil a whole lot sooner than age statistics might suggest they should. Some of those folks had spent much of the earlier parts of their lives behind closed doors practicing the guitar or other instrument, mastering their licks or gesticulating in front of the mirror, getting down their acting chops. We know that many of them were compelled to that dedication by powerful unhappiness, fueled by a variety of losses within their lives, and they believed that they would finally be happy when they became famous and rich.
What many of them became was famous and dead. We know that sounds a bit harsh, but we were there, we saw it firsthand. We went to the funerals. Yes, an awful lot of those untimely deaths had a direct correlation to the abuse of drugs and alcohol or even eating disorders. But the underlying issue in many of them was the unresolved grief that had created the original unhappiness that they had hoped would be cured by fame and success. But fame and money, two of the lady goddesses of cliché, are personified by success or luck of the worldly kind; but in truth, they are tricky ladies to serve; fickle, ungrateful, cruel, and often deadly. Rather than creating happiness, those harpies tend to both exaggerate and hide the original pain. The truth of that unfortunate outcome stands as a chilling contradiction to the idea that those things would bring happiness to someone who is not already happy.
As to happiness and the attending illusions; we have known people to say, "I will be happy when I’m rich," or "I will be happy when I get married," or "I will be happy when I have children," or "I will be happy when I lose twenty pounds." We have heard from too many people who after achieving the things they thought would make them happy, found that they were in more despair than when they started. It’s pretty hard to explain to them while they are in the throes of pain that those successes or achievements were not going to make them happy if they weren't happy to begin with.
What is happiness?
Happiness is an action or a series of actions. Happiness is never the result. Happiness is how you live your life, not what you get by doing something or being something. Happiness is not a permanent condition any more than other feelings, positive or negative. Happiness occurs as a moment to moment awareness of contentment with your current condition, as you are right now, subject to change at a moment’s notice. Happiness does not mean that you have everything you want, nor that your hopes and dreams cannot evolve and grow. Happiness means that who and what you are is just fine. Which leads us to suggest a new way of stating what we are and what we hope to be.
I am HAPPY and if I become famous, I will be HAPPY and famous.
I am HAPPY and if I become rich, I will be HAPPY and rich.
I am HAPPY and if I get married, I will be HAPPY and married - now there’s good one, hold on to that thought.
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