Is happiness a right?

I visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins after work today.  Great company to be in :)  I got to hear about basketball tryouts, learn about a new “most popular app,” congratulate my uncle on recognition by Utah Valley Magazine, eat cake, join in family prayer, and discuss the atonement.  In the car on the way home, I listened to some fun up-beat music and smiled to myself — I felt happy :)

I still feel happy as I write this, but my happiness was almost poisoned on my drive home… At one point, I thought: “Do I deserve this happiness?” and various things I “should” feel bad about came to mind — past poor decisions, apparent injustices, and yet unrealized goals.

Fortunately, my mind was guided, and I decided to believe that: we are entitled to happiness.

I don’t believe we are entitled to uninterrupted joy, nor that we are exempt from pain, suffering, and sadness.  I do believe that every human being has an inherent, inalienable right to happiness.  No matter what decisions we make, or what experiences we have, joy from pure, wholesome sources is never wrong.  It’s never something we have to “earn,” because our existence alone grants us that right.  And it’s never a valid reason for shame, guilt, or confusion.  It is a gift to be experienced.

This helps me understand that:

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)

And on the other hand, in relation to the poison I felt, that the devil:

“…seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Nephi 2:27)

When I am granted moments of joy, I want to experience them fully and wholeheartedly, and I don’t want distorted thinking to diminish them.  I’m convinced this is a right, and even more, that it’s a purpose — part of our journey in life is embracing happiness.

And so, I still feel the happiness from earlier today. My poor decisions, injustices, and unmet goals still exist, yet so does my happiness!

I heard heaven’s white noise today through happiness :)

After the manner of happiness

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