For many people happiness is an elusive butterfly in the garden of life. Imagine a young child in the garden on a summer day. The child sees a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower. With eyes of wonder the child wants to see it close up, touch it, and hold it in their hands. The child goes towards the flower that the butterfly is resting on, with arms out stretched, only to find as he just gets in reach, the butterfly moves to another flower. Undeterred the child follows the butterfly to the next flower, and then the next, but the butterfly always stays just out of reach.
As adults, happiness can seem just like that butterfly, always just out of reach. It becomes almost an obsession and the words “if only…” become an increasingly large part of our thoughts and vocabulary. If only I had more money I would be happy, if only I was in a great relationship I would be happy, if only I could have a different job……….and the list goes on. Even if we achieve one of our “if only “desires, the happiness we seek is still just out of our reach. The truth of the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” becomes our focus and perception. If this becomes our focus, we find that dissatisfaction and unhappiness increasingly keep growing in our life and experience.
The unhappiness within us can not be completely satisfied by external events or circumstances. To find happiness in life we must first be at peace with ourselves internally. External events and circumstances can bring us happiness in the moment, but they do not have a lasting effect on our inner self. Life experience brings a mixture of good and bad circumstances to everyone. To rely on life’s experiences for our source of happiness would mean living life in a constant emotional roller coaster ride.
Happiness comes from within. The inner contentment that survives the roller coaster ride of life has its roots deep within our being. The source of happiness comes from finding and embracing who we are as a person, and living a life of purpose. We need to find peace in every aspect of our life- the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. To discover acceptance, purpose and peace in all of these areas will give a sense of completion in life. If we neglect any one of these areas, we experience a sense of emptiness and feel something is missing. There is not a solid foundation for building happiness within, but we then, typically start to try to fill this incompleteness by looking for outside solutions. That is the point when we can fall into the ‘elusive butterfly’ syndrome, and experience such frustration.
Is happiness an elusive butterfly for you? Spend some time in quiet reflection. Are you neglecting one of the four important parts of who you are and experiencing a sense of emptiness within? The more you discover, embrace and accept your uniqueness and purpose, the more you will experience the butterfly of happiness alighting on your shoulder.
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash