Friday, February 3, 2012

Q: Don't we have the Pursuit of Happiness?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
-- United States Declaration of Independence

When our country’s founding fathers decided to write a letter declaring their autonomy, they demonstrably stated that human beings are entitled to three things: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Life and liberty we all understand, but the pursuit of happiness, as a universal right of human beings, is not something we give enough attention to. We are, in some regards, mandated to pursue our own happiness. We have an ethical responsibility, a national duty, a birthright, to be happy.
Everyone wants us to be happy – our parents, our friends, our co-workers, even our founding fathers. Sometimes we turn to money to make us happy, sometimes we turn to people or relationships. We chase our tail trying to find something that will fulfill our manifest destiny and make us happy, but all the while the opportunity to be happy – and the responsibility for it – rests squarely within each one of us.

Try thinking about your happiness from the perspective of other people. Do they feel a responsibility for your happiness?  No. Do they have a perfect understanding of what will make you happy in this moment or the next? No. They have no idea what truly makes you happy, so it’s not fair to put the responsibility of your lasting happiness on them. 

Our circumstances are not always in our control, and even if we arrange our lives in a way that will "make us happy," – BAM! – something happens. We get a divorce, we get fired, our parent dies, we are diagnosed with cancer, life just happens to us. So what can we depend on to make us happy if our circumstances are outside of our control? Ourselves. That is it.  You are ethically responsible for your sustainable happiness.

Empower yourself to be happy. Start down the path to lasting happiness by asking yourself:
  1. Am I speaking my truth and listening to my heart?
  2. Am I using my strengths?
  3. Am I feeling a sense of meaning and purpose?
Taking it upon yourself to be happy, accepting responsibility for your own happiness, is your duty. So go on, pursue sustainable happiness!

Dr. Aymee

For more information, comments, or questions contact Dr. Aymee at

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