Happiness or Significance
As I was scrolling through Facebook, I happened upon this writing mentioning my blog. A reflection, a look back and forward , by our dearest friend and co-blogger Karen:
Reflection time: “We” are all searching for happiness. That searching goes in many directions. Some search in their jobs, finances,possessions, or relationships. The more we search the less satisfied we are. It is a void that in some aspects is never filled. This left me wondering if it is happiness that we are looking for,or is it significance?
Try and follow my thought process. It may go off in a hundred directions, I promise to try and stay on course! 😉
I want to focus on searching for happiness in relationships. I have spent some time traveling down the road of “if I had a partner then I would be happy”. As if I am not complete or don’t have any value because I don’t have a “partner” to share my life with. I’ve had a few relationships since I’ve been divorced. I use that term loosely because two of those were just disasters and not relationships at all. All three have been life lessons, but only one counts as a true relationship.
I spent three years with this person and put everything I had into making it work. I almost lost a relationship with my sons and grandchildren because I just wanted to be “happy”. I ignored every red flag, every warning sign, and every word of advice from friends and my sons about why this relationship wasn’t healthy. I wrote about it for Donna‘s blog “witheverystep.com“. It wasn’t until I began to recognize that I still had a void. There was something missing, that I then decided I needed to figure out what was really going on, what was I really looking for.
I was equating happiness with value. That as long as I had the time and attention of this person (it was always conditional), I was happy. I mattered. I had value. Honestly, up until a few days ago there was a part of my “emotional brain” that still believed that. My “logical brain” knew/knows better, but had a difficult time walking it out. I remember vividly a time I wanted to surprise him because I hadn’t seen him in a while and I knew he would be leaving the next day to go hunting. I walked into the establishment where he was eating/drinking and went to give him a kiss. When he looked up at me and asked me; “why are you here?” DING DING DING! No happiness there! :\ Time to figure out what I was really looking for.
What is it that “we” are looking for? I think it’s significance. That we matter, or are important to someone.Perhaps the person who can relate to this best is the mom whose child(ren) have left the house and have begun their life. Whether they left for college, to serve in the military, got married, or just moved out because they wanted to spread their wings. You are still their mom, but they no longer need you to mother them. You spent the past 18+ years giving them all that you had. Nurturing, guiding, teaching, and then one day they leave. Now what? You look around and it’s just you. You may or may not have a spouse that you can turn your attention to. Either way, you know how to be a mother. You did it every day without effort. You felt like you had a purpose, value. That little person needed you, and now they are experiencing life on their own and no longer need you in the same way. You may lay your head down at night and your mind begins to race. “What is my purpose in life?” “Now what”?
What ever the scenario, our happiness and our significance should not be dependent on someone else. It has to come from within. You are significant because of the Creator. It is not based on whether you are loved by your spouse, children, parents, or friends. It is the realization that there is a much higher purpose.Not because someone gave you attention, or said all the right words. The void we are trying to fill can not be filled with possessions, or people. Those are temporary fixes.
Instead,focus on love. Love speaks to those hidden empty places in our emotions and logic. It supersedes all things. Love gives us the freedom to believe all things are possible, it forces us to look outward, it forces us to find ways to help those that are looking for happiness and significance. It is in this process that we find the happiness and significance we have been looking for.
* The writer of this blog is still trying to live this out herself. “