Monday, February 20, 2012

The Problem with Chasing Happiness

I had an awakening this past weekend.  I was camping in the Ocala National Forest, sitting under a canopy of palms and oaks when I realized that I have not embraced all of the blessings and happiness in my life.  Instead, I keep chasing happiness around the country and from job to job.  I am chasing after something that is already a part of my life, I just haven't embraced it.  These types of awakenings are difficult to accept.  I have learned something about myself that I do not like.  How did I get here?   

When every aspect of my life is not perfect, I feel the need to make a change and do something different.  Over the past few years, these changes have been moves.  When my life isn't going exactly the way I'd like for it to go, I start getting this gypsy-like feeling.  It might begin with changing jobs but then I end up looking at other places to live.  Confusion will eventually emerge along with internal conflict and finally a sense of despair.  At first, I thought that the despair came from wanting something but not knowing what I want.  However, I realized that it is really about wanting so much out of life and not knowing where to start. 

The problem with chasing happiness is that I'm running in circles.  This is exhausting.  I am the reason for my own exhaustion and inability to be fully present.  This is what I realized:  I am so adverse to drama and negativity that when I start feeling out-of-sorts my initial instinct is to make a huge change and embark on a different journey.  I want to leave instead of work through things.  Though, if I continue to do this, I will stop growing and I will lose depth.  No place is drama-free and no life is perfect.  I am usually good at seeing the positive in any situation but lately I have lost touch with this ability in my own life. 

When I really look at my life, I love most aspects of it.  I love the city I live in, my marriage is wonderful and my husband is my best friend, I've started writing again, I have embraced my love for photography, I am blessed to live by the beach, I can provide for my family and I have found God. 

The one area where I am not completely fulfilled is my work life.  Yes, I could make a change and maybe I will in the future.  I don't want to feel like I am in limbo and waiting for something I don't have, though.  I want to make the best of what I do have and reflect on what I am thankful for in my work:  I am thankful for having a job where I have both the ability and opportunity to make real change in my community, my work is founded on creating relationships and I love seeing them flourish,  working with children is amazing and they always change my perspective on the world as well as myself, I can role model strength, authenticity and compassionate service with those I work with and I truly believe in the work that my agency is doing. 

Happiness is all around me.  God has shown me so many blessings and I love my life.  I am declaring that today, February 20, 2012, I will stop being an idiot.  I will stop chasing happiness and instead embrace what He has already given me.  I will stop feeling paralyzed by uncertainty and complexity.  I want so much out of life and don't know where to start?  I will begin here, in this moment.
My boardwalk to the beach.  I am truly blessed.


  1. My daughter and I discuss "happiness" all the time. :) We should never settle for something that is making us miserable. But, I believe happiness is a state of mind and can come and go with the wind. And, I believe, we must do our part to remain in happiness.

    Hope that makes sense.

  2. Yes, it does make sense. It's finding a balance between making things happen and believing that is in control. I'm still figuring out how to do this:)

  3. Your thoughts seem so familiar to me, almost like I've written them myself. I too get that restlesness and feel like I would just like to burn all my bridges and start over somewhere else but then we can't do that forever. We have to get to the root of what makes us unhappy and try to find ways to change it into happiness.
    I'm so good at theorizing, it's the practice that kills me. :)

  4. Okay. I was a psych major in college and noticed a pretty big Freudian slip in my response to Journaling Woman. This evening, when I have a bit more time, I'll have to reflect on any possible hidden meanings. This is how my response was supposed to go:

    Yes, it does make sense. It's finding a balance between making things happen and believing that God is in control. I'm still trying to figure out how to do this:)

  5. Hi Jaime! I'm visiting from the A to Z Challenge List to get a head start on finding great new blogs. I really connected with this post. I often analyze my life and have the check off list-- this is good, great, fantastic, not so much, hate this--- and then seek for ways to improve. What's wrong with chasing happiness? I think God created us for joy!

    Love your blog, I'll be back to visit again soon!


  6. Thanks for stopping by, Karen. Good luck with the challenge. I'm off to check out your blog as well:)

  7. Hello Jaime,
    I know only too well that gipsy-like feeling, I have experienced it myself, but I often wonder if it comes not only because we are trying to avoid the problems but also because we need change. We need something to challenge us, to put us to the test, to shake us and teach us new things about ourselves. We need to break the monotony, to meet new people, to talk about new ideas. Or it could be that we are unsure of what we are doing with out time on earth, we want to be useful and also we want to be happy.

  8. I like these thoughts, Delia. Thanks for sharing another perspective.

  9. Hello Jaime. I came across your blog through the A to Z Challenge List. Really liked this post, it's important to just make peace with imperfection and decide to be happy.

    Good luck with the Challenge,
    Spill Beans :)

  10. I have to say Miss Jaime, I make a conscious choice each and every mornin' when I open my eyes to be happy that day.

    I remind myself that this is the day that the Lord has made. Even though Satan throws obstacles in our paths...we can still count our blessings!!!

    God bless and have yourself a magnificent day sweetie!!! :o)

  11. Thanks so much, Nezzy & Jnana. When I wake up in the morning, I try to remember to thank God for the day. No matter what happens, I am thankful for all that is before me. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. I came to the same realization about myself this past year. I have been trying to embrace the mantra "Bloom where you are planted". This is so easy for some, and so elusive for others.

  12. Thanks, Chicgeek. It is comforting knowing that I'm not alone in this.