March 20th was International Day of Happiness.  And of course, it brought a smile to all our faces.  Who doesn’t want a happier world?

It concerns me though that the word “Happiness” is getting such prominence in our media.  “Happiness” infers a state of being–a place where you live in a positive world where life is all pleasant.  It reflects the oft heard childhood phrase “And they all lived happily-ever-after”.

“Happily-ever-after” sounds great  and I can’t tell you how many of my clients tell me they are hoping to get to this magical place.  But the truth is there’s no such place.  Oh, there are plenty of happy experiences to be had, that’s for sure.  But it isn’t a place you can stay in forever. I think too many people think it is a place that should come into their lives and be there from then on.

But truly great lives will be continually challenged and changing. These challenges will often times be very difficult and can last for significant times of one’s life. Yet, they are truly valuable and need to be embraced.  The resulting outcomes of these challenging times help us grow and expand our SELF. It many ways they are far more valuable to our lives than is happiness.

That’s why I’d like us to switch to Wholeness instead of Happiness.

Wholeness infers an on-going journey and that it takes time to achieve wholeness in one’s life.  Happiness infers a state of being that one hopes to achieve and remain in.  Wholeness accepts difficult times as useful while Happiness assumes that difficult, trying times are the absence of happiness and are to be avoided.

Words are powerful in our lives. If we keep telling ourselves we want happiness–we will limit our view and perhaps avoid risks that might be difficult initially but help us grow. But if we choose Wholeness as the framework for our life journey–we’ll accept difficult and challenging times as a necessary component of wholeness and growing.

What do you think?  Wholeness or Happiness?