Darn straight, I don’t.
So many of us confuse momentary pleasure or gratification — a new pair of shoes, or a particularly delicious meal — with what makes life joyful over the long haul. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the fun of new shoes or the satisfaction of a great dinner, but a happy life really isn’t simply a series of such pleasurable moments strung together.
Life can gain depth and meaning from difficulty. When we are anxious, we can learn how to soothe ourselves — something we couldn’t learn if we felt calm and content. Anger gives us a unique opportunity to practice forgiveness in a way that really means something. When we are afraid, we can develop courage. In the face of challenge, we have the opportunity to strengthen our grit. After a long bout of missing someone or something, we tend to feel profound gratitude to have them back in our lives.
Self-soothing, forgiveness, gratitude, courage, grit — this is the stuff of a happy life. For this reason, I try to see the difficulties in my life for what they really are: opportunities for growth and meaning in the future.
Take Action: This week, embrace a difficulty in your life with acceptance and self-compassion. What is this challenge helping you learn? How are you growing because of this difficult situation?
Join the Discussion: Inspire others by commenting below on a time in your life when a difficulty lead to positive growth (or even joy!).