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Happiness. We all want it. Do you stalk and capture it like prey? Or sit quietly and wait for it to wander into your sphere, cautiously – as if you might kill it? Some say happiness is like a butterfly, and chasing after it is counterproductive, but if you sit quietly, hand outstretched, it might land on you if you’re lucky.

Spoiler alert – none of that worked for me. However, bear with me. I have an overthinking problem.

Cycles of contrast are the building blocks of life. We can’t understand light without darkness, mountains without valleys, peace without fighting, calm without turmoil, hot without cold, abundance without lack.

Therefore, the next logical conclusion might be “or happiness without unhappiness.” Surprisingly, that’s not correct.

Happiness is relief from stessors.

It really is that simple.

One thing quarantine taught me is that the thing I’ve always dreamed of – that would make me so happy – didn’t. Instead, it made me feel unmotivated. That “thing” was my lifelong dream of being able to spend day after day without a schedule, free to do whatever’s important to me. No work…no obligations. Nothing but calm seas and smooth sailing.

So for days on end with free time, with all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted: learn new things, write, draw, nap, read tons of books. Surprise! Not much happened. I’m quite the procrastinator. As it turns out, I need the stress of structure plus problem – solving. These are the very things I avoid! I wonder if that’s true for most of us. I suspect its a comfort zone issue!

Happiness comes after the pain stops: when there’s money for all the unpaid bills – when the broken heater comes on – that clogged drain is cleared – your child feels better – you work your tail off and win – your spouse arrives home safe in a blizzard – you test negative for severe illness.

Remember that song Turn Turn Turn? Everything has a season, a cycle, and a purpose.

Suppose instead of dreading them, you welcome difficult times with the understanding that they’re temporarily hard. However, through your challenges, you find happiness. Suppose we seek out stress as a road to bring us that ecstatic feeling of being happy?

I’m just always trying to make sense of life and share with my readers what I’ve learned.

WARNING – do not deliberately allow yourself to get into bad or harmful situations believing they lead to happiness. Avoid abusive, degrading, or dangerous people in order to feel happy on “good” days. Please consider your motive. “Difficulty” leads to a good outcome and is of your choosing. The other situations I mention do not and are not. (If you’re in a relationship with a gaslighter, please get help. They will erode your self-esteem and perception of reality. Leaving that relationship is your path to happiness.)

Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

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