Why do we relentlessly pursue happiness?
Ah, the feeling of happiness. It’s like a bubble of sunshine.
But like the bubble, it is elusive and cannot last.
And that’s ok.
Happiness isn’t meant to be around ALL-THE-TIME. We would get used to that state and it would mean nothing.
The contrast between pleasure and pain; joy and suffering; happiness and sadness; wealth and poverty; sickness and health, is there so we can get through the hard times and relish the good times.
I just finished reading Glennon Doyle’s beautiful memoir — Love Warrior — where she emphasizes while life provides us much to be happy for, it also holds pain and suffering for us all.
“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.”
― Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior
Our society is obsessed with happiness — just look at the self-help section in a bookstore. While this can be a good thing if you are one who sees the glass as half-empty all the time, it can also be an unreasonable goal.
All of us have will have painful aspects of our life. We can look at other people and think “they have it all figured out”. But they don’t. We are all struggling through life.
My son had a bout with cancer earlier this year. I am going through a painful personal trial right now. Life is difficult at times. My challenge is to grow through the pain. And have faith that the sun will shine again. (It really is behind those clouds!)
The pain of my son’s diagnosis gave me clarity on what is really important in my life. I appreciated the gift of my child’s life. Even more.
We need to accept that challenges will come our way. Our suffering is caused, according to Buddhist wisdom, by holding on to the way we think things should be — attachment.
If we can accept what is, and love what we have now, we can lessen our suffering. We can try to find happiness and joy in everyday moments to help increase your happiness. Even amid the pain.
The pain, grief, anger, sadness will still come. We can use it to make us stronger, more compassionate, and more appreciative of what we have.
We can only appreciate the sun when we experience the rain. We aren’t meant to be happy all the time.
Into every life a little rain must fall. — Ella Fitzgerald