How to be Happy When it’s Hard

by Rachel Miller

March 5, 2021

What if without these challenges, these hardships that we experience, we wouldn’t know the pleasure of a “good” thing?

The way of nature is opposites: summer, winter, light, dark. If we only existed in one or the other, would we even know the difference? Would we still experience joy? More or less?

Consider: nature shows us how to be happy. The only way to be happy is to live your life in line with nature. That is, to expect and accept the unpredictable, the uncomfortable, knowing that the pain is temporary—it’s always temporary, and it doesn’t last. You may feel this way now, but at least you know tomorrow or the next day, or week or month, you will feel better.

If we recognize this—if we know that the laws of nature require that “good” is just around the corner—why do we create more sorrow for ourselves by lamenting the present? Lamenting the present doesn’t make the future come faster. Neither does it make us feel better. So, why do it?

Focus on what you can control: your thoughts

  • Look ahead and see what you can do now to relax and accept the present circumstances. Remember, you have the authority to command calmness of mind.
  • Consider, you’re not alone: this is how people feel sometimes. Millions of other people feel this way right now. Billions have felt this way before. This feeling, this experience, is part of being human—the human experience—and it’s temporary.
  • Focus on your work. Focus on your action.

“I must lose myself in action, lest I whither in despair.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

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