Happiness Is Impossible?

Image source: The Minimalists
We think that we deserve to be happy. There’s actually nothing wrong in wanting to be happy. However, happiness eludes us when we seek it for the wrong reason. 

In his “Ethics for Everyone: Moral Wisdom for the Modern World” blog, moral philosopher Michael W. Austin, an associate professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University, wrote,“Happiness is impossible, if we’re engrossed by self-love… Happiness is impossible if all I want is my own happiness.”

Austin explained that “happiness is a product of the satisfaction of particular desires for other things. For example, my desire that my child learn, grow, and develop morally is satisfied when I see these things occur. But I must care about the child’s welfare to truly want these things for her. Then I obtain happiness because I have a desire for something apart from my own happiness. If all I cared about was my own happiness, it would be impossible to be happy, because I’d literally have nothing to be happy about.” (Ibid)

Image source: Source of Inspiration
In other words, we can only be happy when we think of others more than ourselves. That means that selfish people can never be really happy. We cannot be happy when we seek happiness merely for our own sake or even for happiness sake. Philippians 2:3-4 command us, “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves”(CEV). The Message Version goes like this, “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” Only selfless people can truly be happy. We can be happy when we seek the happiness of others.
Image source: Mimi
Who is our ultimate role model as far as selflessness is concerned? In verse 5, the apostle Paul added that we are to“think the same way that Christ Jesus thought”. Then he went on to describe how our Lord Jesus Christ emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives, left heaven’s glory and became man to die on the cross for our sins (vv. 6-8). We can only enjoy real happiness when we keep in mind that we follow “the Son of Man [who] came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, ESV)

My take? Seek to be happy for the right reason.


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