Gibran famously wrote that each time we experience sorrow, our capacity for joy increases. The deeper that sorrow carves into our being, the more joy we can contain.
And so, when life gives us the gift of a low, we ought to feel happy that something can even make us feel that sad. Because means that we’re alive and breathing and real.
That oscillation of dark and light is what it means to be human.
Shahar’s research on happiness reminds us of the danger in being relentless optimistic regardless of objective reality. That happiness does not require a constant experience of ecstasy. And that rejecting painful, negative emotions because there is no room for them in our idealized vision of a happy life can actually diminish happiness.
Truly happy people, in fact, were not somehow immune from feeling sadness, fear and anxiety. They still experienced failures and setbacks in life.
But when it came time to calculate the ultimate currency of life, their income of positive experiences outweighed their expense of negative ones.
I’m reminded of the greatest broadway play in history. Mormon missionaries sang:
When you’re feeling certain feelings that just don’t seem right, treat those pesky feelings like a reading light, turn it off, like a light switch, just go click.
Isn’t it remarkable just how much energy we invest trying to keep ourselves from feeling sad?
Perhaps true balance is feeling all of life’s feelings.
Even if they feel like sad facsimiles of happiness crapped out by an uncaring world.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you trying to be happy, or trying to be happy all the time?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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