We all make life decisions that are based on this concept of trying to stay happy. It is human nature to chase this and want to stay there.
There is one little problem.
If we are seeking happiness yet avoiding discomfort, difficulty, or pain at all costs, you may have momentary feelings of happiness that come and go but you would also end up feeling empty and unfulfilled and living a somewhat shallow life.
If you do not believe me, think about the concept of giving birth. Everyone knows that the birthing process is difficult and painful. Every woman knows this yet they willingly accept the process of giving birth because they know that it will result in something meaningful and that it is worth going through. To bring forth another life is so miraculous and fulfilling and it leads to life satisfaction in the long run.
Or, what about a toddler who is learning to walk. They will fall, hit their heads a few times, and skin elbows and knees while they are learning. Would it be beneficial to avoid walking because the learning process is difficult or painful? Are the bumps and bruises and momentary feelings of unhappiness worth it?
They are worth it because every time the toddler falls or gets hurt, they are learning and developing balance and coordination, their muscles are getting stronger, and they are understanding how their body moves and what does and does not work. This is such a valuable process and it would be a detriment and even ridiculous to avoid this and never learn to walk.
My point is,
it is not always beneficial to avoid pain and difficulty. You may miss out on something that would add to your life after having gone through it.
If you have believed that staying happy is the end goal, I want to share some alternatives to happiness, some greater substances that last long term and are not conditional on happy circumstances.
There is Something Better, Stronger, and More Enduring!
These are states of being that are not circumstantial. They are greater and richer in substance and can be maintained and sustained through any experience or situation, whether good or bad. It is possible to have fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment all the time.
They are not attained through the avoiding pain, striving for happiness mentality. They are cultivated through thankfulness, accepting a process that may be unpleasant or difficult, and persevering through the other side of adversity.
The Apostle Paul says contentment is the secret to life. Those are pretty bold words.
Philippians 4:12-13 says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to life, being content in every situation… I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
These inner substances are greater because they make it possible to recognize that our life has meaning and purpose, regardless of our circumstances and to see all of the good, even when going through a difficult time.
So, instead of seeking and striving for happiness, broaden your perspective and go after fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment. These last and really produce better fruit, both within and out.
I will be sharing more next week so check back in for the next substance that is superior to happiness. I cannot wait to share the next one.
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Be well, live well,
Wellbeing Specialist, Holly Malmsten
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