Happiness is a lot like the elusive butterfly, we often see glimpses of it and sometimes it rests gently with us for a longer period of time, but there is much difficulty in trying to capture it permanently. Why is this, many of us wonder. Why is something which we want so badly so hard to grasp and then hang on to? Could it be that in the process of so actively pursuing it, we chase it further and further away?
Working out in the garden, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised when a ladybug or a beautiful winged insect of one type or another lands on my arm as I’m digging in the weeds or watering the flowers. I pause quietly to enjoy the moment, that brief commune with nature because I know that if I make a sudden move or reach for the lovely visitor he will quickly fly away. I wonder if the same cannot be said for the pursuit of happiness, perhaps if we are busy doing other worthwhile things it will simply come to us; and likewise, if we spend our time and means and effort trying to seize this very desirable commodity, will it become all the more evasive to our grasp?
As I think about the people I know who I consider to be among the happiest, typically, they are those who are rather unassuming, modest in dress and lifestyle and usually very actively engaged in one type of service or another. They seem to consider the needs of others before even their own. Instead of feeling deprived, they seem to be enriched because of their approach to life. On the other hand, when I consider friends who are less than thrilled with the lives they are leading, they appear to have a different agenda. They seem to be more concerned about getting ahead and making sure they receive what they perceive as their fair share. Although they may have plenty of money and opportunity and other things that could be considered the making of the “good life”, they don’t exude happiness. Much to the contrary.
Much has been written and spoken about this topic and yet the answer to the question, where do we find happiness remains largely unanswered. It’s not a one style will work for everyone kind of thing. Each one must decide for him or herself what it is that brings the most joy and fulfillment and contentment to their lives. Then, perhaps rather than chasing after those things that have been identified, what if we simply busied ourselves with trying to aid others in their needs. There’s a very good chance that the sweet and fleeting “butterfly” of happiness might make his home with us for a while.
Nancy Smith is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com. an online retailer specializing in volleyball nets and basketball uniforms.