The only two must-have things

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Happy children

Photo courtesy of

What two things are “must-haves?”

From my time as a counselor I find that there are two things, clients must have to create a happy, fulfilled life. Those two must-have things are not the things we have been led to believe are must-haves for happiness.

Whatever their challenge in life, my clients all seem to be missing two important ingredients to create a happy successful life. People who hear voices and see things and people who thought they were perfectly normal until life took a wrong turn both need those same things.

Humans as biological organisms need some minimal intakes to sustain their biology. We need some food, some water, air to breathe, and a small amount of clothing or shelter. Mostly though, as warm-blooded vertebrates, we adapt. Not having those things risks your health and life but having them does not automatically make you happy.

Happiness is not things.

America is blessed and cursed with an abundance of things. So many things we have to haul tons of them to the landfill each week just to keep our things from choking off our access to the remaining things and still – will all those things, we are not happy.

We live in a land of plenty and more people here suffer from excesses than from shortages. There is too much food and the result is obesity and diabetes. We have plenty of vehicles and we consume humongous quantities of energy in our pursuit of happiness and still, amid all those excesses we can’t find happiness. Americans consume the lion’s share of drugs and alcohol and still, we can’t arrive at happiness.

What then are those two things that appear vital in the creation of happiness whether you are rich or poor? Despite our unending search for therapies to help people with their depression two things consistently improve the depressed person’s mood, a healthy relationship, and a purpose in life. Both of these things while simple, are harder to do than they sound.

Humans need healthy relationships.

By this, I do not necessarily mean romantic or sexual relationships, though having a close romantic partner seems to make most warm-blooded vertebrates happy.

We need a relationship with other humans and we need relationships with those higher powers most of us call God or a Deity.

It is a difficult task to have a healthy relationship when you are emotionally sick. Many people find they need to develop a healthy relationship with themselves before they can have a healthy relationship with another. Falling in love is intoxication but the stupor soon wears off and you begin to see with clear eyes that not all love relationships are healthy.

You do need a meaningful purpose in life.

For most of us, this is some form of work. We have come to recognize that many people who we used to think were not capable of work, can despite those challenges we call disabilities, engage in meaningful work.

All work does not need to be paid employment. Having a task that brings meaning to your life gives you a reason to get up in the morning. So paid or volunteer, of someone else’s choosing or of our own, having something to do each day that aligns with a purpose or goal gives us hope and happiness.

You may not be rich but if your daily tasks have a higher purpose, doing God’s will or giving to others, you are most likely to find happiness in living those life purposes.

Finding a job is difficult sometimes. Finding a career that gives you more than just money is more complicated. The more you like your work, the more you are doing what you feel called to do the greater your happiness. No amount of money can compensate you for doing something that is not worth the effort.

We all may need to do something from time to time to pay the bills and keep the body and soul together but in the long haul we call life, those who can find a purpose and then find a way to earn a living at that purpose are well along the road of happiness.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.