Do we deny our greatness by seeking happiness?
Life is an uncomfortable string of events seasoned with a mix of people, some who comfort us, teach us, hurt us, and some who love us. There are moments of joy and happiness, but these are unsustainable. Although we all seek an ongoing sense of bliss, perhaps the only disservice greater than seeking happiness, is in finding it. The people who accomplish big dreams are the ones who turn their heartache, pain, and tears not into happiness, but into a tangible external result.
Tears create revolutions. Tears build empires. Tears change the world. What does happiness have to offer? As it turns out, not much.
Next time you find yourself pulling over in the breakdown lane, sobbing from heartache and pain, questioning your stamina to keep going, desperately seeking a tissue to sop up the mascara lines trailing down your cheeks, remember this: Giving birth is hard and painful. You are birthing the very best version of you and so those tears are a sure sign of great things to come. Embrace your tears, here’s why:
Contentment Kills – What are your legacy dreams? What do you want to be known for 100 years from now? What are you going to do to ensure that the lives of future generations will be better because of your time on earth? If you have legacy dreams, you certainly won’t achieve them if you find happiness too soon. The journey to seek happiness is a motivator, but finding it leads to contentment. When you find what you’ve been searching for, there’s no reason to keep growing, achieving, and moving forward. In many ways, contentment is like death, and perhaps too so is sustained happiness.
We Are Artists – One of my closest friends is a world-renowned painter. He is a constant reminder to me that the best artists are the ones who channel their roller coaster of emotions into their art. His paintings are known for fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars and I’d venture to guess that they would be worth far less if he were to find sustained happiness. His paintings are an expression of what’s happening in the world, mixed with his own pain, sadness, fear, and bouts of happiness mixed into each painting. His range of emotions are as extreme as the color palette of the paints he uses. An artist who has found sustained happiness is like a painter who has only flamingo pink paint on his mixing board. We are all artists. Every emotion, good and bad, offers us a complete spectrum of colors with which to paint our beautiful scary lives.
Resiliency Muscles – Sustained happiness would make you so weak. Struggles, obstacles, and people who hurt us, make us stronger. They prepare us to take on bigger challenges in life. They are proof that we can do hard things, and survive. The pain you feel is like a weight-lifting bench at the gym, and your tears are like the sweat after a hard workout. Sure, it’s uncomfortable, but eventually you will be looking and feeling so much better, so much stronger and healthier as a result. Keep exercising those muscles.
Diamonds – There’s a saying which goes, “A diamond is just a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.” You are a diamond. We are all born into this world as chunks of coal, and the people and circumstances of our lives turn us into diamonds. That is, if we let them. There are chunks of coal that remain chunks of coal forever, never finding their true potential. Know that the pressure you feel is simply the universe turning you into a diamond…. a stronger, smarter, more beautiful version of yourself. You are growing into your potential. Keep shining.
Tears Are Like Rain – The great thing about tears is that they are a sign that you have already experienced the hard part of that particular challenge. The pain has made an impact on your heart and mind. The tears are like a hard rain after a thunderstorm. The rain purifies the streets, waters the trees, and sustains life. And sometimes, as the rain lifts, the sun comes out, and a rainbow graces the sky with its sense of beauty and hope. Go ahead, finish crying, the worst is over until next time, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find your rainbow.
Am I so cynical as to believe that there is no room for happiness in our lives? Absolutely not. Happiness is like a glass of celebratory champagne after a job well done. It’s sweet, comfortable, and refreshing. Rejoice when you find it, but know that it’s temporary. We all deserve moments of joy, bliss, and contentment. My argument is a simple one – that the sustainable happiness you seek is the antithesis of your greatness. If you constantly seek happiness, or even worse, if you find it, you may never find the person who you are capable of being.