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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

When Was The Last Time You Were Really Happy?

Are You Happy?

Really. Think about it for a moment. Don’t just float over the question like any other words on a page. Are you happy?

Since I have started asking the question in my seminars, people have started asking me the question. At first I would always say yes, either because that was what they wanted to hear or because I felt I had to be. But I noticed that sometimes it felt inauthentic. Sometimes I wasn’t happy. So I started to pause when people asked me and really take my temperature, so to speak, and answer meaningfully.

For most people the answer is “Yes and no” or “Yes, but I could be happier.” There are very few people, perhaps none, who have no happiness in their lives. But there are also very few people, perhaps none, who have no unhappiness in their lives.

Some people are unhappy because they don’t like their job or their spouse. Others are unhappy because they don’t know how to relax or appreciate who they are and all they have. Some people are desperately unhappy because of a chemical imbalance in their brains. I have seen it. It is real and tragic. But most of us experience unhappiness when we wander away from ourselves.

Unhappiness is the fruit of doing and saying things that contradict who we are and what we are here for. Unhappiness is not something that happens to us as if we are poor little victims. Unhappiness is something we do to ourselves. You can choose to be happy.

People have chosen to be happy in worse circumstances than you or I will ever likely find ourselves in. No one has demonstrated that more than Viktor Frankl did in Man’s Search for Meaning as he recalled his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Over and over, he encountered people who even though they were starving would share their inadequate rations with others. Frankl explains that while some were killing themselves or wallowing in self-pity, others were filled with an inexplicable happiness, a real joy that was independent of substance or circumstances. Their happiness did not depend on favorable external circumstances but had its source within.

What causes your unhappiness?

Matthew Kelly

From Perfectly Yourself

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