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Don't Get It Twisted

There are words that can be used interchangeably, we like to call those words synonyms. Both the words peace and serenity generally have the same connotation. However, sadly, many misuse the word happiness when they actually are experiencing excitement.

Recently I had a group of my seniors make vision boards. I gave them no parameters. Without fail, I saw boards plastered with images of stacks of money, lavish houses, closets filled with designer clothes and somewhere off to the side there were a few buzz words such as "dream," "happiness," and "believe." Three vision boards in, I had to stop them and help them distinguish between "happiness" and excitement." I asked for a show of hands of the students that wanted to be happy. They all eagerly raised their hands. I then proceeded to burst their bubbles by letting them know they had set up their futures for excitement and not happiness.

Having a big home is exciting, but it's not needed for happiness. Stacks of money can buy many things, and even help you afford many experiences, but the money in and of it self doesn't make you happy. We can run down the list of all of the wealthy celebrities that appear to have the world at their finger tips, but in the end, it's the simple things that really help them enjoy life--having a clean conscience, a means to provide for your needs and the needs of your family, having loving friends and true support--that's happiness. Yachting across the Greek Isles, that's exciting. Having the wedding of your dream wedding with the person of your dreams--that's exciting. But, spending years in a strong, thriving marriage--that's happiness.

Happiness is unlike anger. It doesn't rise in a flash, no one and no-thing (nothing) can make you happy. People and things can add to your situation that can factor into your happiness, but happiness can't come from outside of you. Happiness is sustained joy. It comes from the accumulation of the intangibles--the satisfaction of seeing progression toward your goals, the joy of knowing that you are a part of something great, or the feeling of inner peace because you truly are in full acceptance of what life has dealt you, and you know that your pains are temporary. That's happiness--not excitement. Don't get it twisted!

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