Study Series: The Determining Factor of Happiness

“Happiness is the object and design of our existence.” – Joseph Smith

Why would God put us on earth to be miserable if our whole purpose was to “come off conquerers?” (D&C 10:5)  There’s got to be some joy in here somewhere. I am one of the biggest advocates you’ll ever find for gaiting and maintaining a good attitude. From my findings throughout my 21–22 tomorrow–years of life, sometimes it’s really hard to just suck it up and be happy. It takes a long process to overcome any depression, sadness, or confusion. But as long as you’re sincerely putting the Lord first, you’ll be happy. The Lord proves it. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22.) He doesn’t tell us when, He only promises us it will happen.

We’ll start from the very beginning. I’ve never had clinical depression, but from what I hear it is horrific. For this post only, I’m sharing what prophets, apostles, and Christ Himself have said about happiness in general. I hope and pray that whatever works for those with depression realize the most happiness you’ll be able to find in this life. There are many things in our lives that we’ll never be able to overcome ourselves. That is why Christ gave us the gift of the Atonement. Let me repeat: He doesn’t tell us when, He only promises it will happen…eventually.

Now that that is out of the way, and you actually want to keep reading to what I want to say, here goes. Happiness is conditional. Conditional on your work, your effort, and the relationships you made along the way. Happiness does not–let me repeat–does not depend on the outcome. Believe me, I have failed plenty of times in my life. In fact, I’m on my mission because I’ve failed at many different things. So…does that mean my mission is a failure? No. My failures determine my successes. It’s the same with every human being. So what is happiness? As James E. Talmage puts it in Jesus the Christ, “True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good.” So basically, if it’s manufactured, it’s probably not happiness. Happiness is everlasting, and pleasure is only temporary. We’re going for everlasting here, you know…the whole enduring to the end thing? That’s the goal.

So, how do you actually get happiness? You’re probably still reading  because you know that there is more out there, but don’t know how to get it. Satan wants you to think there isn’t any out there, and if there is, you don’t deserve it. Ew, he is so annoying. I think I found a couple of things from Lorenzo Snow that will punch the lights out of him (hehe):  “When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone…and everything seems illuminated.” Wah-lah. Then President Snow goes on to say, “We have got to obtain knowledge before we obtain happiness.” The step-by-step process of getting knowledge requires a whole other blog post. That’s also something I don’t have the knowledge for yet. (Ironic?) All I can say right now–just read your scriptures. But, it’s just a little bit every day. Don’t try to do it all in one day, or it’s going to go down the drain. As my mission president says, “Every day, in every way, we get a little bit better.”

Obviously, I really like to be happy. However, I won’t realize my full happiness until beyond the grave. That’s when I get my body back with me, and everything will be…just perfect. Overall, the determining factor of happiness is your attitude. How you see, how you think, and how you act. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t be happy. I’m 2,000 miles away from everything I’ve ever known, I get made fun of on a daily basis, I just found out yesterday that I won’t see my own little sister for two more years–and I’m pretty sure I’m the happiest person on the planet…and it’s not just because of chance. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” (Phillipians 3:7) In otherwords, the scoreboard should always be at Sister Hawkes: 0; Christ: 1. It’s because I’m not Monica anymore, I’m a servant of the Lord.