If only I were filthy rich…then I would be happy. If only I had the man of my dreams…then I would be happy. If only I had a job that I really liked…then I would be happy.
“If only…” is a trap that will ensnare you if you’re not a crafty detective. One of my favorite Amazon Prime murder mysteries is Death in Paradise, where the very eccentric, but very smart, detective solves the whodunnit by questioning the obvious. Scrutinizing the “clues,” he sees what no one else sees.
How? By not assuming, by not focusing on what seems apparent, by looking outside the box. Let’s put on our detective hat and get to the bottom of the “if I were rich, then I would be happy assumption.” The first question is, “Are there any filthy rich people who are NOT happy?” Ah, ha! We’ve latched on to an important clue. The answer is YES!
On to the next assumption made by the rest of the detectives, that you would be happy if you had the man of your dreams. By golly, I think you’ve got it! Cases of “man of my dreams and still unhappy” come quickly to mind. And, finally, there is the mysterious case of those who latch onto the job of a lifetime, and, oh dear, can it really be? They are still unhappy?
Now that we have deconstructed all the myths that can throw us into the abyss of “unhappy and confused,” let’s solve the case. This is a magic moment in the tv series where the geeky but brilliant sleuth has an epiphany and exclaims, “I know who did it!” Before you can count to 10, the suspects are assembled, suspects are eliminated one by one with something like, “Margaret, you were the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, so you had a motive, but it’s not you,” until, finally, in a crescendo of anticipation, our creative genius unravels the truth.
Putting our crime-solving skills to work on the happiness case, we can quickly deduce that happiness is not a result of money, relationships, or jobs, after all. The fact is that, by process of elimination, the variables that seemed to be the obvious culprits, have nothing to do with happiness at all.
The question for next week’s whodunnit is, “If money, relationships, and jobs don’t lead to happiness, then what does?”