The Pursuit of Happiness

by Jen Slayden on · 6 comments

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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,
Jen


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

{ 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,
Jen
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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
David
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Find Your Harmony July 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

David,
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,
Jen
Find Your Harmony´s Last Fabulous Post ..BILLY GOAT GRUFF?My Profile

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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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