“A joyful heart is good medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
Did you know that being happy has amazing health benefits? Research has shown that people who are truly happy have reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and susceptibility to illnesses. Also, happy people’s recovery time is quicker from illness and surgery. With these awesome benefits, why would anyone NOT be happy?
If you are struggling to find happiness in your life, what will it take to make you happy? Maybe a successful career… becoming a millionaire… a great marriage? Whatever you choose, there will always be someone who has exactly what you want and YET is unhappy. For example: Howard Hughes had money, power, fame and romance — yet, he was miserable. How is that possible? Let’s take a look at what keeps us from being truly happy.
In Steven K. Scott’s book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness, he lists five major barriers that prevent most people from achieving complete happiness.
Looking for happiness in the wrong places. Are you seeking happiness via materialistic possessions? If something lacks eternal purpose or value, it lacks in providing you true happiness. Materialistic possessions quickly lose their appeal and unfortunately, our temporary happiness subsides. Discover your happiness within!
A lack of gratefulness. There are more reasons to be grateful than ungrateful! Our eyes and ears should be appreciated as the incredible gifts that they are (Proverbs 20:12). No matter how advanced our technology becomes, nothing [no thing] can replace our amazing body parts: sight, sound, touch, and smell. You, as an individual, are unique!
It is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. Seriously think about that statement… At any moment that you are unhappy, you have chosen to focus on other things besides your given gifts. Redirect your focus and energy by creating a list of all the things you are grateful for. Creating a grateful list can and will boost your spirits.
Envy. The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. It is impossible to be envious and happy at the same time… envy distracts you from what you currently have and focuses your attention on what you do not have. Misery and depression reign supreme when you are envious. All of us have the seed of envy set in our heart and mind, but there are ways to combat it!
As Martin Luther once said, “You can’t stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop him from building a nest on it.” When envious thoughts enter our heart, prevent them from growing by being grateful. Gratefulness (to be full of gratitude) fills our heart and pushes out envy.
A sense of entitlement. Do view life as unfair or unjust? Believing you deserve a raise at work or a better spouse, displays a sense of entitlement. As long as our heart is focused upon what we do not have and on what we think we’re entitled to, we will not be happy. Focus on what you are grateful for in the present moment.. don’t ask for any more or less. The time will soon come when you shall receive what you have rightfully earned.
Foolishness. “He that trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). When we are unable to look outside ourselves, we block ourselves from achieving happiness. When someone makes his or her decisions based on impulsive feelings, rather than thinking things through, they can fall short of being truly happy. Our feelings are like a roller coaster – sad one moment, happy the next, angry five minutes later, to nervous an hour from now. Seek guidance before being hasty with decisions and you may find the end result leads to an abundance of happiness.
What are your thoughts about these barriers towards gaining happiness? What are you grateful for today? Stay tuned next week for Part 2 on overcoming the barriers to personal happiness!