As somebody who has struggled with the concept of happiness, and overcome a real rainy, low season this past year. This might be my new favourite quote, stumbled across it whilst browsing the web.
Don’t get me wrong, I think happiness is great. I live for the moments where I am smiling, chatting and laughing. But I do not think happiness is the be all and end all, at the end of the day, it is an emotion and just like the author of this quote states, we only grow through pain and sorrow.
I like the idea of focusing on wholeness, next time I feel down or upset, I can focus on the growth that develops from the fleeting feeling.
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life