A Recipe For Happiness

People want to be happy. Young or old, rich or poor, more educated or less, we all seek happiness. When we can’t find it on our own, we look to someone else to make us happy: a friend, a spouse or even a child. But the truth is, it is up to us to generate our happiness, and on the day that we stop creating it, we won’t have any.


In relationships, couples can become dependent on each other for their individual happiness. This works to a degree, particularly at the beginning of the relationship. But if it continues, and if one or both are unable to be happy in his or her own right, the relationship becomes strained.


“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

—Buddha


Is It Possible To Generate Happiness?

Some people believe in fate, luck or destiny. Leaving your future in the hands of the Fates, with no guidance of your own, is a dangerous gamble. I wrote this for people who seek to guide their destiny. Life dishes out enough unpredictability,

disappointments and even tragedy. Whatever faces us, let’s not take it lying down. We must strive to create our own happiness and live our dreams; or else, why live?


Whether in a relationship or not, and regardless of what goes on in your relationship if you have one, there is always something you can do to improve your situation. There are always some factors you can control that will make things a bit better.


For instance, you can always set a goal, no matter how small it may be, and work to attain it. You will find that if you work toward your goals and make progress on the path to their attainment, you will start feeling better. You will in fact be generating some happiness.


“Diligence is the mother of good luck” —Benjamin Franklin


What is Happiness?


The sense of joy or contentment that we call happiness is a condition that is best created by the person himself/herself. Yes, happiness is something you create, not something that “happens” to you.


Some unhappy people get into a relationship hoping it will bring them happiness. This could become a great burden on their mate. The way to be happy is to have goals and dreams that you pursue and personal accomplishments that make you joyous and proud. Then you will have positive emotions to bring into a relationship, a friendship or a job.


If people are content, each in his own right, together th


ey will experience even greater happiness. On the other hand, if they are miserable in their individual worlds, they will bring negativity to their relationships and will be a drain on each other. Soon they will believe that their relationships made them unhappy. Not so: they brought their own unhappiness into the relationships, and be


ing with someone did not remedy it. But remedying individual unhappiness is not the role of a relationship. A relationship isn’t there to “save” you; its role is to enrich and empower you further. Except that you must provide a good foundation on which to create even greater happiness.


Goals And Your Happiness


Goals are essential to happiness. People who have no goals are unhappy. It’s as simple as that.


Have you ever known an aimless teenager? Are they trying to accomplish anything? No. Are they happy? No. Do you see the correlation? A person who isn’t pursuing some goal will be unhappy.


Some parents soul-search endlessly in an effort to discover where they went wrong: What might they have done to make their child unhappy? Usually, it isn’t what they have done but what they haven’t. Unless they’ve helped the child set goals and work to attain them, he or she will be purposeless and unhappy.


Most youths turn to drugs because they are bored. They lack goals, either because they already have everything or because they feel hopeless about being able to achieve anything. Drugs offer some excitement to counteract the agony of boredom. They generate new problems and provide new “goals” to achieve: avoiding getting caught; lying without being found out; stealing to support their habit. These are goals, destructive as they may be. And they provide something to do, challenges to overcome and a “game” to play.


People need a game. Without goals to attain,


there is no game, no life and, also, no happiness.


Consider old folks: The goal of raising a family has been attained, and the kids have moved out. They are no longer needed like they used to be. They retire. They don’t have to do much. They pass the time, pleasantly or unpleasantly. They get busy aging.

What goals do they still have? How to avoid slipping in the shower and breaking a hip? How to have their diapers changed without losing too much dignity? Without new goals, the aging process accelerates. They get dementia. With the help of modern medicine, they can live for years as a vegetable using up their long-term-insurance benefits. But they aren’t happy.


It is interesting to note that dementia (defined as “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life”) commonly occurs after retirement age. Is that a coincidence? Or could it be this has more to do with running out of goals than with physical deterioration?


I am reminded of an artist friend of mine living in Europe who, in her nineties, still sculpted, held art shows and did community service. She pursued her goals and was happy and relatively healthy. She lived a long life and was sharp as a tack to the day she died.


“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” —Benjamin Franklin





A Recipe For Happiness