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Pursuit of Happiness

Updated on June 8, 2017

What is the pursuit of happiness?

I will start off this article with a question. What is the pursuit of happiness? As we all know the constitution grants us the right to pursue what makes us happy. But my question is, what if we pursue that makes us happy is frowned upon by your beliefs or another's beliefs? I write this article because I wanted to divulge the changes that I have made in my own self to gain better understanding of others.

I was recently teaching a class and it came to the portion about hate crimes and etc. Of course, as always, this is a very sensitive subject to some students. We started out with the classical hate crime groups, that include the KKK, the black panthers, the Nazi’s, etc. You get the picture. As we moved on into the newer groups to include those against LGBT groups. Several of my students began to ask me what that was. I explained that LGBT is lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgendered. I saw the puzzled look on many of their faces. I explained that this group often is the most harassed and ridiculed in all walks of life. Several of my older students did not even know what a transgender was. I explained to them what the definition was. To my stunned self, one student replied “Why would you pick on someone like that?”

My reply was simple that I did not know. She went on to explain that if that made that person happy who the “heck” are we to question it. Now bear in mind, she is the most outspoken student that I have. She doesn’t hold anything back. She went to say how when she was a younger woman that she had experimented with other women in her younger days, but found out that she didn’t like it. Most of the class was erupting into laughter. She waited until the laughter subsided and said that she didn’t know what being a lesbian was until she was around a friend that brought up the subject. The friend went on to bash lesbians and gays. My student said she was terrified to admit that she had been in a homosexual relationship. She said for the first time ever she was actually ashamed of who she was. Now for her to admit feelings like this. That wound was deep….trust me! She went on to explain that she had been happily married for many years to a man after realizing that she did not like the homosexual lifestyle. She said that she never told anyone about it until many years later when she confided in her husband. He simply looked at her and said “if it made you happy, then who are they that thinks they can judge you?” I guess it struck me that I never really thought about how other people viewed your pursuit of happiness. My happiness is spending time with my family and friends, traveling, tinkering on cars, yard sales, and so many other things. How would I feel if someone started bashing what makes me happy? I know that I would be a very unhappy person and would be probably angry, and like the hulk, you won’t like me when I am angry (wish I could get swole up and turn greenJ.)

I have since started to try to understand what makes others happy. And I have come to the realization that I am no one to decide what makes others happy. If you like the same sex, well then so be it. Be happy for that person that they found happiness. I think we can all agree that there is enough negativity in the world today to constantly worry about what someone else might be doing. Mind your own business, keep yourself happy, and stop worrying about someone else’s pursuit of happiness. If you focus on keeping yourself, your family, or whomever is in your life happy, you will soon realize that you don’t care what makes others happy as long as they are happy. Life is too short to be negative. Be positive! Be encouraging. Be a decent human being.

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