Does your happiness matter?
I believe it does. In fact, I believe that your happiness matters a lot! I ask this question because many people mistakenly believe that happiness is selfish. I know because I grew up in the church, where the happiness is selfish myth is prominent.
When I was born, my dad was a youth pastor, and I literally learned to walk in at church. I’ve been around long enough to know sometimes Christians feel guilty when they focus on themselves. After all, as Christ-followers, we are called to love and serve others. The inward focus of psychology can make Christ-followers feel uncomfortable.
In the college psychology classes I teach, students sometimes refer to focusing on oneself as “fluff” and “selfish.” This is okay with me, as I appreciate honest conversation and like to know what others are thinking. What I love is their views often change over time. By the end of our class, many students come to realize that their happiness is actually one of the best gifts they can give to others.What if your happiness matters and is one of the best gifts that you can give to others? I believe it is. Find out why: Click To Tweet
3 Reasons Your Happiness Matters
What if your happiness is more than selfish fluff?
I suggest that focusing on your happiness might be one of the most important things you can do for yourself and others. Here are three reasons why I believe your happiness matters.
1. Your happiness matters because you matter.
You matter… a lot. According to the Bible, you are:
- Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
- A God-designed, handcrafted masterpiece (Psalm 139:13)
- A child of God (1 John 3:1)
- A person whom God delights in (Psalm 149:4)
You are valuable because you have been assigned value. Imagine for a minute that you are exiting a bank with a crisp, brand new, $100 bill in hand. As you walk to your car, something on the side of the road catches your eye. In the gutter, you find a muddy, tattered, torn, and crumpled $100 bill. Do you pick it up? I would. So, would most people–which is why we don’t find $100 bills along the edge of the road. A $100 bill is worth $100. This is the value assigned to it by the United States Treasury. It does not matter if the bill is new, used, tattered, torn, muddy, or crumpled. The value of the bill remains the same.
Your value is similar–though much greater–than that of a $100 bill. God assigned your value when he sent Jesus to the cross. Your worth is the price of God’s Son and nothing you do or don’t do changes that. You are God’s prized possession. Because you matter, so does your happiness.You are God's prized possession. Because you matter, so does your happiness. Click To Tweet
2. Your happiness matters because your mood affects others.
Moods are highly contagious. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Have you ever spent time around someone who had an overall negative outlook on life? If so, do you remember how you felt afterward?
In college, I once met a girl for a blind date who spent the entire time complaining about her health issues. I felt sorry for her. By the end of the date, I was emotionally exhausted. Needless to say, we didn’t go out again. What could have been a fun coffee shop conversation (we met at a Starbucks) ended up being a draining experience.
On the other hand, associating with happy people is energizing. I am convinced that one of the best things parents can do for their children is to take care of themselves. My girls can tell when I’m happy, stressed, or frustrated. My oldest daughter is especially aware of her parent’s non-verbal cues. If she thinks something is wrong, she will ask. Parents who model appropriate self-care and emotional regulation are setting their children up for long-term success. Children will follow their parent’s example. Emotionally regulated parents are more likely to raise well-adjusted, emotionally regulated children.
From a Scriptural perspective, Jesus calls his followers to be salt and light. A burned-out Christian is similar to a burned-out light bulb–he or she is not very effective. Your happiness matters because your mood is not just about you. Your happiness impacts everyone you meet.Your happiness matters because your mood is not just about you. Your happiness impacts everyone you meet. Click To Tweet
3. Your happiness matters because you alone are in charge of your emotions.
Years ago, a depression medication commercial on television posed the question, “Who does depression hurt?” The answer was, “everyone.” My heart goes out to those struggling with depression. Depression is painful. But it is not only painful for the person who is depressed. Friends and family are hurt by the depression too. What is especially frustrating for family members is not being able to fix the problem. Family can encourage their struggling loved one to get help. They can cheer this person on, offer support, and do their best to be a part of the healing process. However, if a depressed, angry, or anxious person does not want help, there is little that a family can do. Ultimately, you and I are in charge of our own emotions.Ultimately, you and I are in charge of our own emotions. Click To Tweet
How Your Happiness Blesses Your Spouse
What if your happiness actually blesses your spouse?
If this were true, then happiness wouldn’t be selfish after-all. I think it’s time to bust the happiness is selfish myth.
There is an old saying, “A happy wife is a happy life.” This saying contains a lot of truth. I am a fairly independent person. I love it when my wife, Jenny, cooks for me, yet I am fully capable of cooking for myself. Jenny also does a wonderful job of caring for our home. However, I am a capable cleaner, decorator, and caregiver for our kids. The one thing that I cannot do is make Jenny happy. I can do nice things for her or offer to help. I can even tell jokes and try to make her smile. Nevertheless, I cannot make her happy, and similarly, Jenny cannot make me happy. Emotions are highly personal, and each individual is ultimately responsible for their own level of happiness.
One of the best gifts that husbands and wives can give each other is to effectively manage their own emotions. The book of Proverbs has much to say about angry men and contentious women. In fact, Proverbs 21:9 goes so far as to say, “It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.” Living with an angry, depressed, quarrelsome, or unhappy person is frustrating. We can ask them to change and offer support. We can beg, plead, and have a direct conversation about how their mood impacts us. Yet, we cannot directly alter another person’s emotions. Each individual must take charge of his or her own happiness.
Why Happy is Better
Moods matter! Don’t be a burned-out light bulb or a quarrelsome spouse who leaves their partner longing for a peaceable attic room. Happy people make better husbands, wives, parents, co-workers, friends, and representatives of Christ. Happiness is more than fluff. Taking the time to regulate and manage your own emotions is one of the best gifts you give to others. The Bible says it best; truly, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
If you are in a slump and are not as happy as you would like to be, you will want to check out my free happiness report. Be Happier; Now, Introduces ten practical steps to elevate your mood fast. The first strategy takes less than five seconds to put into practice. The report is free with your subscription to my free newsletter. Simply enter your e-mail here, and you’re in! Then, leave a comment below and let me know what you are doing to be a happier person and spread your joy to others.
Continue the Conversation
Let’s dive deeper into the happiness conversation. Here are a few questions for reflection and discussion.
- Have you ever fallen for the happiness is selfish myth? If so, what’s the story?
- How has your loved one blessed you by being happy?
- Can you identify specific ways your happiness blesses your partner?
- Are there other ways your happiness matters? What would you add to this post?
Now that you’ve heard my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours. Let’s continue the conversation on why happiness matters in the comments below!