We all want to be happy. I have sat down with many couples preparing them for marriage for over 43 years now. I often ask the question, “What would you like to do for your partner?” Very often many would say, “I want to make them happy!” Then most often I say, “You cannot do that!” I get very puzzled looks and challenges to my statement.
My answer is, “You can share happiness, but you cannot make anyone happy. Happiness is a choice and you make it from within.”
Indeed, I believe that happiness is a choice. Euphoria, feeling high can be a by-product of happiness but is not necessarily a measure of happiness.
One of the prerequisites for happiness is detachment. If I am attached to something and make myself miserable because I cannot get it, that is a choice. For example, I go out to a meal and ask for tomato soup. However there is no tomato soup available. I am offered the choice of three other types of soup and decline them and keep on asking for tomato soup. I keep getting worked up, making a fuss and getting bothered because I cannot get it; that is a choice.
In life we need flexibility, we need not ‘sweat the small stuff’ and almost everything is indeed small stuff compared to the big picture. Even death leads to eternal life.
So does it mean that we can deny our feelings and live in some type of utopia, of course not! It is about flexibility, it is about being open to alternatives, it is about not having just one plan, we need plan A, B, C, etc.
Being anchored in God, source of life and goodness, grounds us in reality. I can decide to be true to myself, to my commitments, I can decide to keep on loving even when love is not adequately returned.
If we expect someone or something to make us happy, we are asking the impossible. We are adding an impossible burden upon them. Indeed this is the cause of many disappointments in relationships.
My attitude to life and its many challenges is so important!
So often we of course do not live up to our ideals. The biggest mistake that we can make is to give up trying.
Jesus helped so many before us in his own lifetime and throughout the ages since, to change, and to become free. Are you willing to let him help you be happy?
God bless you today.
+Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin