Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them.”
― Steve Maraboli
I think there is a habit we have of regarding happiness as a fundamental goal in life. And, to be happy is pretty sweet. I see why we want it for ourselves and for others. It is an easeful state and it feels awesome.
However, if we are regarding it as a fundamental goal, I believe we are setting ourselves up for failure. Here’s why. It works against the natural ways of our human emotional system. Health within that system means you can experience the entire range of human emotion. The less resistance we have toward certain emotions, the more we can allow the emotional system to work the way it is designed: for feelings simply to flow through us like wind through the trees. Feelings come through to give us a message or feedback and then they are supposed to leave. Clinging to them or resisting them is what causes discomfort (and, ultimately depression and anxiety). So, having the goal of always being happy actually means clinging (to happiness) and resisting (other emotions). See what I mean here?
Instead, how about we enjoy the hell out of those moments when the feeling flowing through is happiness? Love it, be grateful for the nice, fun wave of happiness and feel it fully by being present. And, then, how about we breathe through, build our tolerance to the feelings that are not as easy to be with like fear, sadness, disappointment? If you can build your ability to tolerate those more uncomfortable emotions, you actually will be able to feel the good stuff (excitement, happiness, love) even more. And, you are able to move through those states quicker so you can get back to the easy, fun feelings.
The reality of human life is that there are going to be “problems” (or circumstances we don’t prefer) and we are going to experience unpleasant emotions. So, let’s work with that rather than go against it. When you go with it and have the ability to deal with the things that come up, you have freedom and ease and happiness will be sprinkled in there more often than if we just cling to happiness as a fundamental life goal.
I do wish for everyone to experience the full volume of their happiness when it is with them. And, I wish for you and for myself something even more powerful: to be at ease. That is the overarching goal of what I do for a living. By focusing on building the skills to be at ease, I see my clients experiencing more happiness.