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What I Lost in Pursuit of Happiness – Part 2 | #MyFridayStory No. 158

What I Lost in Pursuit of Happiness – Part 2 | #MyFridayStory No. 158

“Happiness never comes from a destination. Happiness is a choice we make, every day, no matter where we are.” ~ Dr. Robert Holden

The leading British psychologist Dr. Robert Holden coined the phrase, “Destination addiction”. He describes a manic society where folks frantically and neurotically live their lives to get to the end of it. They believe that the future is where success and happiness exist. They love the saying, “Been there, done that!” They don’t live in the moment, always chasing and on the move. They never have time to relax and savour the moment.

This leaves them permanently dissatisfied.

Victor Emil Frankl, the Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, devoted his life to studying, understanding, and promoting “meaning.” His famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it.

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Without meaning, people fill the void with hedonistic pleasures, power, materialism, hatred, boredom, or neurotic obsessions and compulsions.

After coming out of rehab and a divorce, my search for happiness remained unsated. I found a new lease on life from being sober and clean and poured my energy into my work. My relationship with my kids was on the mend as they navigated the heart-breaking reality of divorced parents. But still happiness eluded me.

At the age of 42 and being with my ex-wife for 22 years, 17 years married, I was tentative to start dating women. But, six months after my divorce, I met a friend from the past and we started dating.

The relationship lasted less than a year, but the “excitement” of being with another woman was magnetic. I felt the need for a woman in my life. I thought my future happiness lies with the “right” woman for me.

Within six months I was seeing a beautiful lady. We hit it off as friends at first and only started dating a while later. But in my desperate need to find this “perfect partner,” I convinced myself it was her. She broke it off a year later, my hope for real happiness dashed yet again.

I was raised in a Christian home by parents that were happily married for 60 years. Marriage is sacred and should be honoured. In our Calvinistic upbringing, adultery ranks high on the list of no-nos. If you had ever asked me what one sin could I never see myself committing? I would have said adultery.

After the recent break-up, I had a brief extra-marital affair with my assistant. The excitement of something forbidden soon turned into shame. I ended the relationship but the damage was done. She told her husband about us and handed in her notice.

Then amid my despair, I relapsed.

After a night of heavy drinking and using, I wrote-off my car, driving it into a concrete pillar. I escaped uninjured but I knew I needed help. Again. I was taken up in a clinic for treatment for depression, anxiety, and a mental breakdown. When I left the clinic this time, I began to question my interpretation of happiness. My search so far had only brought me misery, and still, I felt like my life had no meaning.

I had been chasing happiness as something or someone out there.” Not as something I already have. I still needed to learn that to live intelligently is to live with purpose. It is about making the means the end, and the end the means.

The end is in every moment.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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