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.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan) July 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm

No, it’s NOT a right…we just have the “right” to pursue it! There is such a difference, Jen. Freedom is a right as defined by our founder – pursuing happiness is a choice!
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Find Your Harmony July 8, 2012 at 11:23 am

Hi Bruce!
I appreciate your constructive criticism….I was trying hard to honor the holiday and tie it into the theme of the month and the last part about happiness really grabbed my attention.

I agree with you that happiness IS a choice, but for some it is NOT the only factor. I have a brother who has a mental illness, and several friends as well. They try and try to CHOOSE happiness, but become more depressed when “wallah!” happiness is not achieved merely by choosing. They need medication, support, understanding, love and acceptance. They need tools so that when they do choose happiness they can achieve it. It is a process. And because of that I firmly believe that choosing is just one tool, and everyone really does deserve to be happy, even when they have chemical imbalances or brain injuries.

Thank you for your feedback Bruce, and here is to the pursuit of happiness for all.
In Harmony,
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile


Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan) July 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Well Jen, you’ve given another wrinkle to the discussion. I mentor a young man with a fatal illness and the mother of my boy’s – we’ve been divorced a long time – is in a halfway house of sorts for those with mental illness, so I know of what you speak. Those situations are the exceptions, however, to my general notion in my previous comment — which I still stand by.
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David Stevens July 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Hi Jen,
Keep stepping…..enjoy your 4 July over there
be good to yourself
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Find Your Harmony July 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

Same to you, my friend. 4th of July was a blast (pun intended) and filled with family and the celebration of my parents 54th wedding anniversary…..a day to remember forever!
Happy Summer,
In Harmony,
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile


Amit Sharma July 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Happiness, is not something you find in some mere achievements or in this material world. It has to come from within. You can seek it anytime you want. Try to be in NOW and you are there!! 🙂
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