Let's Get Psyched! EXPOSED: I just want to be happy

by Randy Kiel | January 28, 2018

I just want to be happy

For as long as I can remember, at least once a year I see a headline on a magazine offering to teach people the “secrets of how to be happy.”

As a therapist, I work with the topic of “unhappiness” at least daily.

What I’ve come to realize, for sure, is that there is no secret needing to be revealed for us to have happiness.

Perhaps, at times, we have all said, “I just want to be happy!”

Of course we do, but it is not possible to be always happy. We have been divinely created to experience a full range of emotions and to be responsible for them. We must be careful with the message that “God wants us to be happy” as God actually wants us to be truthful and at peace with all our emotions.

There are many teachings from the scriptures that model a formula of happiness.

St. Paul teaches us through his letter to the Philippians to think about “Whatsoever is true.”

The original Greek word for “true” is alethes, which means openness, not concealing, honest with oneself.

A common reason that I discover unhappiness in people is due to a lack of alethes. People growing in alethes, or truth, have nothing to hide as they seek to be right with God and allow themselves to be reconciled before the throne of Truth Himself, Christ.

Those seeking truth become people who are open and honest in conversations with others and, when alone, maintain this closeness with God. It is this willingness to live with alethes that will become the foundation for happiness.

In doing so, these individuals may be more inclined to ward off the downward pulls that stress them, battle the temptations that surround them, and resist the resentments that tug at them daily.

These are natural experiences that come with life. If we expect the circumstances of life around us to produce our happiness, then we are actually building a foundation for deep discouragement.

We have heard that peace is not the absence of conflict; so also is true that happiness is not the absence of sadness.

Happiness is not always a “smiley face” or a giddy laugh, but rather, the ability to be at peace with the breadth of emotion that comes with life.

Happiness is also the ability to maintain a relationship with the Prince of Peace during the midst of our sadness. In this relationship with Christ, we will be able to avoid some of the turmoil that come from life, rather than avoiding the emotions that come from living.

St. Paul tells us to think on eight concepts for a deeper sense of happiness in life. If we frame our disposition to think on the things that are of truth, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, and worthy of praise, peace will then guard our minds and hearts and lead us toward happiness.

Happiness does not depend on external conditions and circumstances; it is governed by our mental attitude, emotional disposition, and spiritual disciplines. These three tenets give us access into our personal inventory for the sake of alethes or truth, peace and happiness.

This Sunday, as we exchange a sign of peace with our neighbor, may we realize that we are not only giving the gift of Christ’s peace, but also the gifts of alethes and happiness. Peace be with you!

Randy Kiel

Randy Kiel is the founder of Kardia Counseling and is a deacon serving at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Des Moines, Iowa. To connect with Deacon Randy, email randy@kardiacounseling.com.