In our search for happiness, we might have read articles, watched videos, and listened to inspirational talks on happiness. These resources often include helpful advice on how to be happy such as focusing on the positive things, choosing to see the good, and dismissing feelings of loneliness, among others. While all these principles of happiness can be effective ways to find joy, we might have gotten some of them wrong. Here are a few common tips that we might look at a little differently.
We should be positive in all things. We have been counseled to choose a positive attitude and find joy no matter our circumstances because that is the way we can obtain peace in our hearts. With all the challenges that each of us encounters in life, looking at the brighter side of things is indeed helpful. Focusing on the positive side of our circumstances brightens our hope for better days and strengthens our resolve to make our situation better.
However, positivity doesn’t mean not feeling sad, distressed, or disappointed. Focusing on the positive side of things doesn’t mean only having pleasant feelings. There are many circumstances in our lives such as losing a loved one or a job, failing an exam, leaving home, saying goodbye to a friend, missing an interview, and many others that might trigger these feelings. Having these unpleasant feelings is a fact of life. Even Jesus Christ wept and felt deep sadness when Lazarus died. We should not push aside these emotions and most importantly, we should not think that these feelings are putting our happiness in jeopardy.
Positivity is a state of mind. And positivity amidst these feelings can take one form or another—sadness that leads to empathy, disappointment that leads to earnest prayer, grief that leads to repentance, and heartbreak that leads us closer to Christ.
We should pay attention to the good. Of course focusing on the good is great. It helps us see the little, often unnoticed, gifts of life. It also helps us to have a grateful and happy heart. But paying attention to the bad also may not be a bad idea. Taking a step back and evaluating the ‘not so good’ parts of our lives can lead us to greater heights of happiness. Looking at our often-drained finances can lead us to reconsider paying a full-tithe. Assessing a failed romantic relationship can lead us to evaluate how we spend time with the ones we love. Asking what went wrong after being disqualified in a try-out can lead us to practice and work harder to better our craft.
Paying attention to the bad side of things can also be good if it helps us find ways to do better. Doing this can be a prelude to brighter opportunities and greater heights of happiness.
As we continue our quest for happiness, may we always remember that happiness is not all about the warm, fuzzy, and pleasant feelings of the heart. Sometimes, happiness can be found amidst and through troubled and unpleasant times in our lives. How is that possible? It is made possible through Christ who has borne all our sorrows and sufferings. He succors all those who seek Him for comfort and showers happiness on those who seek His name and do His will. He enlightens the minds of those who seek further understanding. So the next time we read a principle of happiness that confuses us, let’s seek further light from the Author of Happiness Himself, even Jesus Christ, the Savior.