The Happiness Bookends

“Happiness is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Helen Keller

“I just want to be happy”. It’s a phrase which has probably come out of more people’s mouths than we can imagine. Happiness quite often seems like the goal.

But what if happiness isn’t the end goal? Or what if we took it away as a potential end goal?

I think what happiness should be a very short-term goal that we should be striving for sooner than waiting. We tend to wait until we find the dream house to have happiness, the new car or the perfect relationship. I maintain happiness should book-end things…it should be the beginning and end and morph into the next beginning. These periods could be seconds. You could have so many beginnings and endings that they could end up taking up every second. Let me explain;

If I can be happy with myself first, I can be of assistance to someone else which will add to my happiness.
That’s the book-end. The happiness has the potential to eventually bleed right through the task so we can maintain it.
If I am miserable, sad or unhappy, I am unable to muster up the energy to help anyone else

The bookend works on us too. We might have to put contentment on the first bookend in order to want to help ourselves and then we can be happy knowing we helped ourselves.
We may have to put rest on the first part of the bookend so we help ourselves.
We might have to put forgiveness on the beginning.
We might have to get rid of the bookends which look heavy but don’t have the substance to hold up our shelf like guilt, anger and jealousy.

I used a small vase with some coins in it to hold up some books. One day, it came crashing down and scared my Filthy cat at the time. It wasn’t strong enough to hold it up.

I think we are looking for things to hold up our “goals” which just aren’t powerful enough to do it.

For me, helping others is my bookshelf. I feel it’s my calling and my purpose. I am happy to do it and I feel happy when I do it. My book shelf seems fine now.

When my motivation in helping others has selfish motivation, the bookends are susceptible to falling. If I am constantly irritated, impatient, annoyed, angry or jealous, it’s only a matter of time before those bookends come off the shelf and bring all my self-centered goals with it.

What I believe finding happiness with ourselves can do is put us in a good frame of mind to fulfill our purpose and can only be achieved through us, not others or other things. If we create the happiness, if we find the purpose in it all, we can feel good at night going to sleep knowing that shelf is sitting stable and everything is functioning.

I think happiness and helping others goes hand in hand. I have found great purpose in helping.

What if there isn’t just one big purpose for us? What is ‘purpose’?

We have an idea of the things which serve a purpose in our lives, but what about the things which serve no purpose? We know how to push obstacles around in our house. We understand how to move items from one room to another but can we identify the things which actually serve a purpose? I finally took some items to Good Will which served no purpose. There were some chairs I never sat on, a table beside my bed that was too low for my water anyways and many clothes which haven’t been worn in a few years.

I have a rule now with my household items; if they serve no purpose in me achieving a purpose, they can go to someone else.

How can we rid our own character of the things which serve no use or the things which inhibit our growth? Is there a cinder block sitting precariously on our bookends or books?

I truly believe one of the biggest cement blocks we can have on our shelf is ill intent. When our hearts have poor motivation, selfish incentives or fake enthusiasm it negates everything we have that is good.

And all this happiness chatter aside, what if it’s possible that our individual purpose is to be a link in the bigger picture? What if we thought less about our own happiness on a single scale and started slotting ourselves into where we are needed based on being called to do so?

For me, this can only be achieved by simply paying attention. I am all done arm-wrestling life into submission. If I am needed, that is where I will be.

Helen Keller said, “Happiness is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”; fidelity meaning devotion, dedication and faithfulness to a worthy purpose.

I like that she said worthy instead of greater. I always believe in finding the greater purpose in things, but I like the choice of ‘worthy’ because it means there is a reason for it

Dropping off some more books and CDs today…hope they can serve a purpose for someone,

Karen :)

Talk about bookending a quote;

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” ~Helen Keller

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