The pursuit of happiness is one of the most dangerous value systems a person can hold.
There is nothing wrong with being happy, in and of itself, of course. But when our own personal happiness becomes the controlling value in our lives it becomes deadly. Placing personal happiness above all else ultimately destroys others and destroys the one trying to attain it.
Dr. Henry Cloud puts it well when he explains why people who make happiness their greatest value are the most miserable:
The reason is that happiness is a result. It is sometimes the result of having good things happen. But usually it is the result of our being in a good place inside ourselves and our having done the character work we need to do so that we are content and joyful in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Happiness is a fruit of a lot of hard work in relationships, career, spiritual growth, or a host of other arenas in life…
If happiness is our guide and it goes away momentarily, we will assume that something is wrong. The truth (and this is why happiness is such a horrible value) that when we are not happy, something good may be happening. You may have been brought to that moment of crisis because of a need for growth, and that crisis may be the solution to much of what is wrong with your life. If you could grasp whatever it is that this situation is asking you to learn, it could change your entire life…
Many things are better to worry about than happiness. And these things are the things that ultimately will produce happiness (Boundaries in Marriage, pp 110-111).
Let us stop making the fruit of happiness our ultimate value. Let us grow in maturity beyond that of the little child who only focuses on the moment – as though happiness now is all that matters – knowing that such a life is self-centered and ultimately self-destructive (let alone destructive to others). Let us do the sometimes hard heart work now (even if it doesn’t feel good in the short term) that will ultimately bear the lasting fruit of happiness.
Make your personal happiness your greatest value and lasting happiness will surely elude you. Focus on the internal heart root issues within yourself and the fruit of happiness will find you.