By Rev. Marla Sanderson
Happiness doesn’t come with a price tag (or an instruction manual).
It starts from the minute we’re born. Dependent on adults for our care, we soon learn to behave this way or that to get the things we want. It doesn’t matter if it’s attention or applesauce, we get it “out there.”
As we get older, TV, radio, magazines, and billboards are all too willing to sell us things to make us happy.
Buy this car—these clothes—this smart phone. By all means, live in this neighborhood, not that. Get to know these people. Not those. Work at this job, etc. The pitch is always, “Give us your money and we’ll give you happiness, satisfaction, and self-respect.”
As you go through life seeking bigger and better, you’ll have flashes of satisfaction. They are often followed by disappointment, disillusionment, and bills you can’t afford to pay.
The list of what will bring you happiness gets longer as you get older, yet experience suggests you might be chasing unicorns. Will all those things really make you happy? Or will they just make manufacturers and salespeople happy?
Recently, a friend and I went out to breakfast. As he pulled into the parking space, he was a little too close to the car on my side. I started to get out but stopped to avoid hitting the car next to us with the door.
In a flash, a total stranger tore out of the restaurant and started yelling at us for parking too close to his car. He went on and on about our carelessness and just how special his car was. I tried to soften the whole thing by asking what kind of car it was. I also explained that I hadn’t touched his car, but he’d have none of it.
Inside, he continued to stew about the situation so the whole restaurant could hear it. He even made a phone call to tell a friend that someone had hit his side mirror and ruined his new paint job.
Since it would have been impossible to talk with him, we thought it best to stay quiet and let him rant alone. I wanted to yell out, “I’ll bet you thought that car would make you happy, didn’t you?” But discretion ruled the day.
When you base your happiness and self-esteem on something outside of yourself, you can count on a lot of ups and downs. You may enjoy a flash of happiness when you get it, followed by a flurry of negative emotions when it breaks down.
So what can you do instead?
To begin with, stop looking outside of yourself for happiness. This includes acquisition, attention, agreement, affection, and anything else that isn’t you.
Recognize that you are absolutely wonderful just the way you are.
No matter what “stuff” you have or don’t have
No matter what you’ve accomplished (or not)
No matter what strangers say or think of you
No matter how big your butt is. Or if your hair’s too curly
No matter who your friends are
No matter how many people do things differently than you do
And no matter what other way you’ve learned to magnify your shortcomings
There is no one like you. No one better than you. Your entire world forms itself around you according to your own thoughts and feelings about yourself. It’s time you recognized that.
When you bring your happiness to any situation you diffuse the negativity, and remain in charge. Don’t waste precious time, effort, or money on the illusion you can buy happiness.
Happiness will be free when you are.
Rev. Marla Sanderson has been a student of spiritual practice for more than 35 years. She began as Assistant Director of The Next Step, a psychic and spiritual community in a New Mexico ghost town. She’s been a workshop leader, teacher, practitioner, and minister of Living Love, and the Science of Mind. She recently founded the New Thought Global Network, a virtual “church” that offers inspiration anytime, from anywhere. The site showcases many powerful Science of Mind and New Thought speakers and writers, and intends to expand these teachings to the world. Check it out at www.newthoughtglobal.org.