Friday, April 27, 2007


What makes a person happy? A recent study on the Today Show concluded that happiness comes not from children, religion or even having lots of money. The study showed that having a huge house in not important to one’s satisfaction but having the hugest house on the block is. This study seemed to imply that we should “one-up” everyone around us in order to feel good about ourselves.

At first I was shocked at what I was hearing. Is our world really so shallow that being the best is THAT important. But then I dissected my own behavior. I admit that I enjoy when I have the MOST fashion-forward dress at church and take pleasure that my son is the NAUGHTIEST little tot in the ward. I love showing off my house because I am quite sure we decorated it the CUTEST on the block. I also secretly feel a little smug at the knowledge that I married the BEST man in the world (Ha ha World…jokes on you).

So now you know. I am a prideful shameful woman. Probably more prideful and shameful then you… so beat that.

Douglas and I often take morning walks through the beautiful country club across the street from us. Interlaced throughout the brilliantly landscaped golf course are these multimillion dollar homes. They are amazing. I often daydream as we stroll through this area. If Ryan and I play our cards right…one day… maybe. As I walked passed this one particularly showy mansion I wondered about the lives of its occupants. While my life is far from perfect I could not imagine that the homeowners could be happier than me even though they had three-million-dollar-upped me.

The other night I was watching the American Idol Gives Back event. I was deeply moved by the images I saw. Thousands of Africans dying in filthy slums; children forced to fend for themselves because both of their parents are dead; mothers holding their sick infants knowing full-well that their babies would not make it through the night. The images of these beautiful babies haunted me the most. Their sweet round faces and big brown eyes did not look so different from my own little angel’s.

Did I feel happy because I have one-upped these suffering people? No. I felt ashamed of myself.

No matter what some study says happiness does not come through being or having the best. It comes from being immensely grateful for what we do have (great or small) and thankful to the Lord for providing it. It comes through treasuring the people you love and helping those who are suffering. I want to be the kind of person who does not put off generosity until I feel I have enough to spare. At times I can be a selfish girl but a girl who wants to better herself and can.


Kristy said...

Ohh!! You're not selfish! And you don't have the best man in the world, either. Bwah ha ha! I like this post.

Janssen said...

It's so true about feeling superior. Great post!

Bethany said...

You really put things into perspective with that blog. Sometimes I see people who "have more than I do" and I wonder what I have to do to put myself in their position. Then I come home to a beautiful wonderful wife and a crazy fun boy and realize there is NOTHING that could give me more happiness than the two of you give me. Thank you Love.