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Whatever Makes You Happy

February  3rd,  2022
By Clare read
Posted in Culture

“Well, as long as it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.”  This sentiment is a common response I hear after someone shares a life update. Maybe they got a new job, or they’re in a new relationship, or perhaps they entered back into an old relationship.  Is it always the wrong thing to say? Not necessarily.  There are many things in life that are safe to “agree to disagree” on.  But there are times that I think this statement can be used as a safe space for many people; in times when we are uncomfortable expressing how we really feel. Recently I walked in on a show called “Selling Sunsets.”  This reality TV show is essentially about a group of rich young women who work for a high-end real estate brokerage firm in Los Angeles.  Let me tell you, this show was HIGHLY dramatic.  So naturally, I was hooked.

There was a scene in this show that is pertinent to what I’m talking about here.  One of the women, Chrishell, had a husband, Justin, who divorced her suddenly (and told her over TEXT mind you), several months prior to this moment on the show.  During this episode, Chrishell was out to dinner with her girlfriends, when Justin came up in their conversation.  “Did you see he got remarried?” Her friends asked.  Chrishell was aware, and she proceeded to respond by saying, “you know, he’s happy now and I’m the most successful I’ve ever been. In the end that’s really all that matters.” To which her friends applauded and expressed their endless support… EXCUSE ME?! Ladies and gentlemen, this is supposed to be REALITY TV.  If this is reality, I am horrified.  As I take my blood down from a boil to a simmer, let me explain why this is so incredibly wrong.

Happiness is important. Who wouldn’t want to be happy? Like I said, I myself value it highly in my everyday life.  But at what cost? In order for Justin to be “happy” he had to divorce his wife, communicate the divorce over text (casual), and quickly find and marry another woman who would satisfy his desires.  “He’s happy now, and in the end that’s all that matters.”  How long until he realizes his new wife cannot satisfy his every desire? How long until the high wears off and there’s conflict in their relationship?  How long until he’s not happy anymore? Realistically, probably not very long. And then what? Divorce his new wife and find someone else all over again? Hey, whatever makes him happy.

We are confusing happiness with a high.  Happiness is a fleeting emotion, one that feels good when it’s there but inevitably does not last forever.  We are also mistaken about what makes us happy.  My job, family, friends, interests and hobbies all bring a lot of happiness into my life.  There are many moments where I am grateful for the laughter and joy that occur in my days because of these things.  But let me make this clear, these things do not make me happy; they are not the source of my happiness.  God is the source. He is the only One who can possibly fill my heart to the point where it’s overflowing.  Nothing and no one else can do that, only the Lord. My job, for example, is beautiful, rewarding and fruitful, but there are also challenges, fears, doubts, pain…  Just like anything else in this broken world.  If I expected my job to make me happy, I would be questioning all of the challenges that arise and be tempted to run away.  

And that’s just it, the statement “whatever makes you happy,” gives that person permission to run when things get hard.  If we truly love the people in our lives, we need to recognize when they are fleeing.  And we need to remind them and ourselves that nothing but Our Lord can be the foundation and source of our joy.  When we know people in a committed state in life, maybe that be their work, vocation or family, things will inevitably become difficult at one point or another.  In those difficult moments, we have two options: we can watch them run and dismiss it by saying, “well, whatever makes you happy.” Or, we can challenge them. And by challenging them, we’re actually loving them.  Here are some comments and questions we can use in these difficult moments of confrontation. 

  1. What are you running from? 
  2. Remember why you’re here. What was your “why” in the beginning? 
  3. What is God asking of you right now? What is He saying to you? 

This isn’t easy to do, believe me.  I have been in countless situations where I have failed as a friend.  But I have also been the one to speak up at times when it’s needed.  And let me tell you, it can be scary and awkward.  But the amount of gratitude that is expressed to me afterwards by that person I approached makes me see how necessary it was to embrace that terrifying and awkward moment.  It is easy to cling to comfort, we crave it.  But as Pope Benedict XVI said, “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” 

About the Author

Clare graduated from Walsh University in 2019, earning a bachelors degree in Sociology Applied Family Studies, along with a minor in Psychology. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Clare comes from a large family of ten children and two loving parents! Clare always had a passion for ministry, as well as a profound desire to learn the deeper meaning behind human existence. When she found The Culture Project, it opened the door for her to do just that. The deeper meaning that she had been so desperately searching for was revealed to Clare through this mission, and she is now determined to spread it herself. "I should not have had to search for the meaning behind my body, my worth, and my existence at the age of 23. I said 'yes' to this mission because we should not have to search at all; we deserve to have the truth be brought to us. We are all entitled to that deeper meaning without the tireless search, and that's exactly why I am thrilled to be serving as a missionary with The Culture Project."

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