Every week, I join a virtual class with people from all over the world. There are students from Europe, Australia, California, Virginia, Colorado, and of course Canada. While everything outside my windows is covered in yet another layer of snow, I am amazed at how the Australian in the class is melting in the summer temperatures. I complain about the cold; she complains about the heat. Each of us would love to get just a bit of what the other has.
Isn’t that the way it always is?
The busy entrepreneur wants a day off. The unemployed worker would love to be busy.
The parents of young kids wish for a quiet house. The couple struggling with fertility issues would give anything for some noise-makers.
The mentally unwell adult doesn’t want to get out of bed, the physically ill person would like nothing more than to get out of bed.
The person with nosy relatives would like some space and privacy. The person alone in this world would love to have someone who asks about their life.
The person who feels like their spouse is a problem wants to separate. The person without a spouse wants some problems to solve together.
Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it always seems greener on the other side. But everyone - every single person - is dealing with something.
This leads us to a critical conclusion: your happiness doesn’t depend on the presence or absence of certain factors.
“Yeah, but I’m sick. I’d be happy if I was better.”
No you wouldn’t. There are millions of healthy people who are unhappy.
“Yeah, but my relationship is rough. I’d be happy if I was single.”
No you wouldn’t. There are plenty of single people who are unhappy.
“Yeah, but my job is terrible. If I had a better job, I’d be happy.”
No you wouldn’t. There are people working in their dream job but feeling miserable.
“Yeah, but I’m really broke. I’d be happy if I had more money.”
No you wouldn’t. There are rich people all over the world who are unhappy.
Sure, maybe you’d have a temporary increase in happiness if you made some life changes, but research shows it’s not permanent. You’d return to your baseline, and be complaining about the next thing.
Your happiness doesn’t depend on the presence or absence of certain factors.
Does this mean that you’re doomed? Does this mean that no matter what, you’re just going to be unhappy?
No, of course not.
It just means that your happiness depends on you.
It means that you must bloom where you're planted. It means that you must be present to the little things. It means that you must use your strengths. It means that you must insert meaning into your life - especially the struggles. It means that you must accept and carry your cross - not because you are a masochist or martyr - but because this is life with all its ups and downs.
If you want to be happy, you can’t wait for life to give it to you; you must bring it to your life.
And bit by bit, you’ll be just fine with your side of the fence - grass or snow.
Here’s to conquering stress.
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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