HOW WE MIGHT BE MISUNDERSTANDING HAPPINESS

One could say happiness is just a series of happy moments strung together, surrounded by a range of other experiences.

Everyone wants to be happier; to “get to” happiness, as though it’s the final destination. Have we been led to believe that happiness is like the end of the Candyland board where your world is sugary sweet and once we get there, we get to stay?

I would never tell you that happiness is not something to strive for, but perhaps that shouldn’t be the end game.  

Let’s look at Candyland, the game many play as a child, as a metaphor for our everyday quest for contentment.

Sometimes you come out of the gate strong, you pick the Queen Frostine’s ice cream cone, or the lollipop, catapulting you close to the end of the board, leaving your opponents in the dust.  You are excited about the notion of a quick win and it’s in this moment you feel a bit of elation.

Are you the player drawing only color cards, creeping slowly along the path? The big advancements elude you but – no doubt – you are moving towards success.

Regardless, we all know how this game goes. At each moment, any of us might pick the wrong card, ending up 10 steps behind.  Do you ever feel so close to the finish you could taste it… only to get stuck on red? Yet even more deflating, to end up back at the beginning?

We have all witnessed someone attempt to cheat a little. Pretending to draw two cards instead of one. Being sent back to peanut brittle can take the wind out of your sails as everyone passes by.  The discomfort of a setback SUCKS.

It does seem that this notion of happiness has become the goal of our lives, rather than a part of it.

It is fun to win – to come out on top, but that feeling only lasts until you put the game away.  

Isn’t there more fun in actually playing the game?  

The fun often is in the thrill of getting stuck and finally drawing the double reds. Oh, sweet freedom!  Perhaps the fun is playing with a child who has such pure joy and happiness when they draw that card that gets them unstuck or closer to the end of the game.  

Of course, I want happiness for my patients, for my children and for my friends.  I want them to enjoy the ice cream and the gum drops. But do you ever wonder if the sweetness is that much sweeter when you have also experienced the salty, the sour and the savory along the way?

Connection Challenge: Commit to spending one day just thinking about small moments throughout your day that bring you bits of happiness.

Receive my weekly blog posts