The Pursuit of Happiness

by Jen Slayden on · 6 comments

We have all read the arti­cles about the impor­tance of tak­ing small steps in life, career, and even rela­tion­ships. To try to reit­er­ate what so many writ­ers have said so well before would per­haps not entice you to read much past my first para­graph. So I will just take a bit of a dif­fer­ent approach on this hol­i­day week, and encour­age you to look at life’s small steps as a way to cel­e­brate Inde­pen­dence Day in a new fashion.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are cre­ated equal, that they are endowed by their Cre­ator with cer­tain unalien­able Rights, that among these are Life, Lib­erty and the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness.
The Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence 4 of July 1776.

Each time I read the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence the last part (the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness) always res­onates. Being happy is a right , and one that many of us with busy lives, stress, anx­i­ety, depres­sion, and other chal­lenges can for­get to practice.

Sev­eral years ago I was so rushed to be happy and find hap­pi­ness that I was much like a dog chas­ing it’s tail and never catch­ing it!

When my kids are older and more inde­pen­dent, I will be happier!

When I just make a bit more money I will find my happiness.

When I lose those 20 pounds I need to lose peo­ple will like me more.

When my boss quits pick­ing on me maybe I’ll like my job more.

Do any of these phrases sound famil­iar? It is easy to spi­ral into the neg­a­tive think­ing when it becomes part of the every day con­ver­sa­tion you may have in your head.

So how do we pur­sue hap­pi­ness and the INDEPENDENCE from fear, anx­i­ety, and neg­a­tive self-talk?

It goes back to SMALL STEPS. When we are able to start to rec­og­nize that we are chas­ing hap­pi­ness instead of liv­ing happy it is time to make some changes. And all changes that are suc­cess­ful derive from small, inten­tional steps. Whether it is start­ing to exer­cise, re-evaluating friend­ships and mak­ing appro­pri­ate changes to be around more pos­i­tive peo­ple, writ­ing down neg­a­tive thoughts and turn­ing them around when we catch our­selves blam­ing, whin­ing, or blindly search­ing for a hap­pier life with­out the tools we need, or get­ting help from a trusted professional.

I always say my first marathon took two years to run. Because it took a team of sup­port, ded­i­ca­tion on my part, one mile at a time of run­ning two years before the actual race to com­plete it and be healthy in the process. If I had tried to make the race with­out those small steps over a long period of time I surely would have failed.

Life is like that as well. Small steps are the key to suc­cess. And you know what? When you make the com­mit­ment, to make small last­ing changes in your life, some­thing mag­i­cal will hap­pen. You will feel a lib­erty you have not felt before. You will live LIFE, be LIBERATED, and be able to PURSUE HAPPINESS and achieve a hap­pi­ness that you have never expe­ri­enced before.

Now that is what I call FREEDOM.

Happy 4th of July, my friends.

In Har­mony,

by Jen Slay­den

Jen Slay­den finds her har­mony in West­ern Mon­tana with her hus­band Mark, their three kids, and an out­door lov­ing black lab named Cody. Stop by and check out her life in music, words, and edu­ca­tion at Find Your Har­mony.
Jen Slayden
View all posts by Jen Slay­den

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