By Jewel Safren, LCSW
Listen to this. We all think that something will make us happy. If we just get somewhere, or have something or achieve some goal, then we will have found happiness. But haven’t we all heard movie stars say, “I thought fame and money would bring me happiness—but it doesn’t.” Even Oprah says this, and there is no one more famous or rich than her!
I have been working on a project for years, and it is really starting to come together for me. For all these years I’ve been thinking, “Hey, when this project really gets underway I will be so happy!” But now that it is happening—I am not experiencing the happiness I thought I would feel. In truth, this fact is leaving me a little depressed.
The part of me that feels like an incompetent loser was thinking, “Ha! When I accomplish this goal I will feel competent! Then I’ll be a winner in my own eyes. Then I will feel like I am enough.” I fell for it again—even though I know better. It always seems like the next acquisition or accomplishment will give me what I need to feel happy, to feel adequate.
This has taught me, again, that happiness lives only in this moment. To tell you the truth, I have learned this lesson over and over—but every circumstance seems to look different.
I have learned that there is nothing wrong with working on goals or accomplishing things. It is just different from happiness. Now, there is a certain kind of happiness you experience when you know you are accomplishing goals that are in alignment with your true self. But the happiness I am talking about here comes from a deeper place than the circumstances of your life. I had to figure out again that my happiness doesn’t come from accomplishments. My happiness comes from understanding that I have a direct pipeline to all that is—to the Creator of the universe. It is not even personal; it’s inherent. And it’s available to me at every instant.
Now that I have gotten that again (it’s a moment-by-moment process), I can just go about working on my project and not have it be so all-important, because my whole sense of self does not depend on it. Now I can just work on it and have it be no big deal. This, of course, gives me great freedom and an ability to enjoy it more and to actually let myself have a little fun with it.
Beneath all your thoughts (which are endless) and the circumstances of your life there is a place where you can feel God’s presence. It is a place beyond words—purely experiential. When you have an experience of that Divine presence, the circumstances don’t really matter all that much… All I know is when I do not feel that presence, I can be on an around-the-world cruise and still be unhappy. But when I get even a whiff of that Divine presence within, I am happy just making dinner.
Jewel Safren MSW, LSW, LCSW has over 35 years of experience in counseling, life coaching and public-speaking coaching. She has worked with people all over the US and in Europe, and runs popular personal growth workshops, webinars and classes. She is recommended by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz; Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, B.Ed, M.Sci.; Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn and Rabbi Mordechai Becher. She lives in West Orange with her hubby and two kids, and has two married kids and two grandsons living in California. You can contact Jewel at 973-464-8556 or, if you would like to be on her mailing list or for more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.