The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it.” (History of the Church, 5:134.)
And the prophet Lehi taught, “Men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25.)
So our purpose in this life is to be happy and to have joy. Why aren’t we happy then? What is the “path that leads to” happiness?
The path is being in integrity with who we really are. We really are children of God, and we came to this life knowing Him and His laws deep in our hearts, and then we promptly forgot. When we get out of integrity with what we know, if only unconsciously, we are unhappy. We are in integrity with ourselves if we are obedient and faithful to God and faithful to ourselves by following the laws and virtues that God planted in our souls when we lived in His presence before this life. That’s the simple formula.
The difficult part is obeying consistently and then accepting forgiveness—including from ourselves—when we don’t obey. None of us can live the laws perfectly, so we need forgiveness. The problem lies in (1) not wanting forgiveness and so persisting in our sins; (2) not accepting forgiveness when it is offered to us freely and readily; and (3) not forgiving ourselves by hanging onto sins long after their expiration date.
We have more to do with our own happiness than I think we realize. It has more to do with what we believe and do than what others believe and do. If we accept forgiveness and forgive ourselves, it matters less and less what our husbands, wives, parents, and children do. There is little they can do to prevent it. But if we don’t allow forgiveness, often, everyone else is to blame for our unhappiness.
Here’s a thought I like:
“Happiness comes through doors you didn’t even know you left open.”—Unknown
One door we can leave open is complete acceptance and forgiveness of ourselves and everyone else. You will find great power in yourself when you do. When you don’t, you will only find the sorbitol of happiness, the artificially sweetened kind.
There’s lots more we could discuss on the topic, and I hope to get to it in future posts.