Pillar #4.5 The Happiness Paradox: You Can't Keep It Unless You Give It Away
“Happiness is found in laying down your life for something greater than yourself.”
-Maura Preszler, Choosing to See Beauty
You know the sage advice that if you truly love someone, you have to be willing to let them go? It seems so counter-intuitive doesn’t it? If you love something, everything within you wants to clutch onto it so tightly and never let go. This same principle, however, is true with happiness. The harder you grasp at it, the more elusive it becomes. Victoria Frankyl states something very similar in his book Man’s Search For Meaning stating, Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.” Meaning, it you work toward happiness your your own sake of being happy, then your motives are selfish and happiness can never come from a selfish motivation, but when you start to live for another, live for something other than and greater than yourself, then happiness is the natural byproduct.
Maura Preszler, in her quote above states, “Happiness is found in laying down your life for something greater than yourself.” The key to your own personal happiness is funnily enough, to stop living for yourself. is to live outside of yourself.
C.S. Lewis says “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” That is freedom! To not be weighed down by all my concerns over my needs and your behavior, what a relief! Not that we neglect ourselves, we always have to treat ourselves with dignity and love ourselves first if we are going to be able to do the same for others, but then we move on. We have a foundation of meeting our needs and taking care of ourselves, of knowing our own dignity and value so we don’t waste time and energy trying to get it or manipulate it out of other people and we are free to love them from a place devoid of self-seeking.
This is how we progress from that place of self-awareness into self-possession so that our life can become a gift. We love ourselves enough to give ourselves away as a gift to another and that becomes an infinite source of happiness. This is love. This is charity. That is the Joy of the Christian life. Christ didn’t lose his life, He gave his life. The early Christians weren’t murdered, they were martyred. My pain becomes the source of my greatest joy because from it I lean all the more heavily on the Lord and trust in His mercy and goodness and become more intimate with Him than ever before.
If you love your life, as we are all instructed to do in the greatest commandment, then give it away. Whatever reservations you have in doing that are due to attachments from fear, wounds, trauma and the lies you have come to believe from those experiences. Take those lies to coaching. Take those fears to coaching. Take that resistance to coaching and learn to love the person that you are. Once all that messiness gets cleared up and is out of the way, clarity follows, it becomes much easier to discern the gentle voice of God in your life, and happiness ensues as you are able to unite your life with His own.
I am a Certified Catholic Mindset Coach through Metanoia Catholic. I help Christian women who feel discouraged with life find fulfillment and hope they desire by reworking limiting belief patterns with the tools of mindset coaching so that they can see the Truth of the Goodness and Beauty of who they are and how they were made.
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If you wish to get to know me better, check out my personal blog, Grateful Blessed Mess, at gratefulblessedmess.com for an inside view of my interior life, and don’t forget to listen in to the Grateful Blessed Mess Podcast when you get a chance! God bless!