Crossing The Line
I’m going to apologize up front to those of you who are expecting a mad rant about something that made me cross a line. My intention today is to help you across the line in the sand of life from the constant pursuit of happiness to actual happiness.
Here goes; current research on the subject of subjective wellbeing/happiness finds that the pursuit of the extrinsic goals of money, status and image do not bring happiness. In fact, it appears that a constant search in this arena will result in unhappiness because the getting of stuff requires the need for more stuff.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m at a work session with a group of folks who put me up in an extremely nice condo on the ocean and I am surrounded by beautiful things; I LIKE THEM.
There is nothing wrong with having status, image and wealth, but the constant pursuit of them will not satisfy nor make you happy.
In contrast, when we seek personal growth, strong relationships and a sense of community and the well-being thereof, we become happy. Happiness makes a difference in how well we live.
Yesterday, I saw this in action. A young woman I am working with has an ill father. She was saddened by the fact that she could not be with him. The story is much bigger and more personal than you can imagine, so suffice it to stay; it was one of life’s trials.
I called my dear friend and sister Rita who lives in the same town as the young woman’s father. She and her husband Hal went to visit my friend’s father and showed him love. The power of that visit is with me now and will fill my heart until I die.
The love they showed in that moment gave happiness, peace and a sense of restoration. Money could not by that moment. My status would not garner that kind of love and my image would not have even started the car.
I believe that my own personal growth enabled me to be open to share in this need. The growth of the young woman to reach out for help, and the relationship between Rita, and I; she and her husband and then our sense of community which recognized that we are all family is what brought the peace that surpasses understanding.
I’m not turning in the beautiful stuff that has come with life. I don’t have to get rid of the status that I have achieved (okay, if you know me, then you know that I’m laughing) and as I humble myself, my beauty is magnified.
But I have decided to spend the rest of my days seeking growth, loving relationships and building the community of humankind.
I hope you’ll join me.
Be you, be well, cross the line.
Bertice Berry, PhD.