My brother is a high school drama teacher and playwright and he said something to me recently that really hit me. He said that in order to find happiness you have to have struggle. And this is an issue with many people as the world we live in allows us to move through it with very little push back. Immediate gratification, everything online at our fingertips, same day shipping, participation medals, no consequences for bad behaviour or missed assignments. Without the storm we don’t notice the sun.
I am currently reading Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert and he said, “When experiences make us feel sufficiently unhappy, the psychological immune system cooks facts and shifts blame in order to offer us a more positive view. But it doesn’t do this every time we feel the slightest tingle of sadness, jealousy, anger, or frustration. Failed marriages and lost jobs are the kinds of large-scale assaults on our happiness that trigger our psychological defenses, but these defenses are not triggered by broken pencils, stubbed toes, or slow elevators. Broken pencils may be annoying, but they do not pose a grave threat to our psychological well-being and hence do not trigger our psychological defenses. The paradoxical consequence of this fact is that it is sometimes more difficult to achieve a positive view of a bad experience than of a very bad experience.”
When life is full of broken pencils rather than large-scale issues, we never trigger our happiness buttons. We haven’t been in the dark long enough to be thankful for the light.
Some of the happiest people I have ever met are those that are on the tail end of a medical crisis or those in an unimaginable situation who have received some good news.
Can we take the time today to think about all the reasons we have to celebrate this one wild and precious life? The hectic work schedule that gives us the means to live. The family members who sometimes make us pull our hair out but also give us immense joy. The mistakes that brought us a life we weren’t expecting but a lesson we’ll never forget.
As researcher and speaker Brené Brown said, “You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
You are wired for struggle. Embrace it along with the happiness that will arrive on the other side.