By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Some people believe that achieving happiness is the purpose
of life, yet the pursuit of happiness often leads to
unhappiness. This is because happiness is actually a
consequence of a different life purpose - the pursuit of
evolving our souls in our ability to love ourselves and
When achieving happiness is your goal, you might pursue this
in three different ways:
1) You might pursue momentary pleasure, believing that your
happiness is the same as pleasure. When this is your belief,
you might pursue happiness through substances such as
alcohol, drugs, nicotine, or food. Or you might pursue
happiness through activities such as sex, spending or
2) If you believe that your happiness is attached to money
and the outcome of things regarding money, you might pursue
control over outcomes through spending most of your time
working, as well as accumulating and managing money.
3) If you believe that your happiness is attached to people,
you might pursue control over getting love, approval,
attention, admiration, or acknowledgement.
While momentary pleasure feels good, it is just momentary.
Which means that you need to keep on doing whatever you
believe will bring you happiness, over and over. This is
what creates addictions - the pursuit of what you believe
will avoid pain and bring pleasure. The problem is that none
of these pursuits bring deep and abiding happiness, because
their affects are always momentary.
True happiness is not the result of DOING, but of a way of
BEING. Rather than being a result of the momentary pleasures
of the outside world, it is the result of your intention to
evolve daily as a loving human being.
What does this mean?
This means that ongoing happiness is the result of choosing
the spiritual path of kindness, compassion, understanding,
Yet it is not enough to express kindness and compassion
toward others. Many have tried this and still end up feeling
empty and angry when the deep happiness they desire
continues to elude them.
The path toward happiness starts with opening to learning
about what is most loving and compassionate toward YOURSELF.
You can have all the things that people believe will bring
happiness - money, a good relationship, a family, work you
enjoy - yet if you are critical and judgmental toward
yourself instead of accepting and compassionate with
yourself, you will not feel happy.
Imagine a child who seemingly has everything - tons of toys,
the best schools, great vacations, lots of friends. But
imagine that this child has parents who ignore him or her,
or who are very critical, judgmental and controlling of him
or her. This child will not be happy, no matter how many
external things he or she has.
Imagine that this child is you - the feelings within you.
How are you treating this child? How do you treat your
feelings? Do you ignore your feelings and cover them over
with substance or process addictions? Are you judgmental of
yourself, constantly telling yourself that you are not good
enough, that you are inadequate in some way?
Ignoring yourself or judging yourself will always lead to
unhappiness, so matter how much you have in the external
world or how loving you are to others. Until you decide to
start treating yourself the way you want others to treat
you, deep and abiding happiness will elude you. As long as
you are treating yourself the way your parents may have
treated you or themselves, you will continue to feel the
emptiness and aloneness that comes from self-abandonment.
If you want to experience true happiness, then start to pay
attention to your own feelings with a deep desire to learn
about what you are doing or not doing that is causing your
pain and unhappiness. Happiness will be the natural
consequence of your willingness to take full, 100%
responsibility for your own feelings, and learn about and
take action regarding what truly brings you joy,
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and
co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me
To Be Loved By You?" and "Healing Your Aloneness." She is
the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing
process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a
FREE Inner Bonding course:
email her at