Last night I was in a foul mood.
Maybe you don't get like this but I was in a mood where nothing seemed to go my way. My wife was at a jewelry party (whatever that is) so I was feeling lonely, my youngest kid wailed if I didn't hold her and squirmed if I did, and I was getting more frustrated and sulky by the minute. I had decided that after the girls went to bed I'd quickly clean up the kitchen and then go to bed myself; after all, tomorrow had to be a better day so I wanted to get there as soon as possible.
As you can see, it was a first-class pity party with all the trimmings.
Some words that I've heard several times, and I'd even said during a recent talk, came to my mind while loading the dishwasher: “everything I do, I do because I think it will make me happy”.
“I'm not very happy, today,” I thought, “obviously I'm not feeling down because I think it will make me happy.”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was wrong. I realized that my sulky mood brought an odd (and unhealthy) form of pleasure. The mood instinctively became an excuse for selfishness (I can't be patient or thoughtful today; I'm in a bad mood) and made me feel entitled to special treatment (you should feel sorry for me) and I got to play the victim (you're making me have a bad day). When put all together, my foul mood was a certainly a path that I thought (unconsciously) would make me happy.
This realization actually snapped me out of the funk I was in because I saw how stupid I was being. I was thirsting for happiness but was going to the desert to find water. Not a good idea, huh?
My goal now is to reflect on the other parts of my life where I do this. What other things do I do because I think they'll make me happy but—like self pity—have no potential for brining real happiness? Once identified I can only pray for the grace to cut them out of my life.