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Happiness isn't a right

It isn't uncommon to hear a friend express sentiments like, "everyone deserves to be happy" or, "one day the right person, the right job, or the right opportunity will come along and everything will work out."  The unfortunate reality is that things don't work that way.

Perhaps it is true that excitement can "come along", pain "comes along"...as does tragedy, bliss, and moments of beauty.  But happiness and contentment are different...more elusive because a certain amount of skill and work is required.  Happiness implies an ability to hold onto an ongoing state that lasts from day-to-day, week-to-week, even year-to-year.  The state of happiness can only be achieved after a certain amount of work, skill, and determination is applied to the chance situation of something "coming along".

In order to find happiness in a career, it is necessary to spend years in training, complete a degree, put in years of hard work to get experience, and then find the strength to get up each morning to do what you have to do.  Without putting in the necessary work upfront, there is no way for anyone to stumble into a job or career which is rewarding and satisfying.  There is a process, as imperfect and unfair as it might be.

The same is true in love.  While common knowledge makes us believe that we ought to do nothing but wait for "the right person" to "come along"...happiness can never be found in love without first opening our hearts and minds so that we might learn the skills, put in the work, and do what needs to be done each day to maintain the relationship: becoming more sensitive, solving problems, communicating, and growing.  Most people haven't found long-term happiness in love either because they don't have a long-term relationship or because, without the right approach, the long-term relationship isn't working.  Indeed, a truly satisfying, rewarding, happy long-term relationship or marriage is as rare and elusive as a satisfying and rewarding career.  Friendship is no different.

I am in no way saying that the only way to be happy and content is to find a long-term relationship and a great career.  I've known plenty of people who have been happy without either.  But, even in these cases, a certain amount of wisdom, skill, and work goes into negotiating that life of happiness and contentment.

The founders of the United States, in the Declaration of Independence, did not guarantee happiness; rather, the right to the pursuit of happiness.  All human beings should have the opportunity to get the education and experience necessary to succeed.  All human beings should have the right to love whomever they choose...and to pursue any kind of relationship they want with any other person.  In that sense, we all have the opportunity to find happiness...as elusive as it may, indeed be in the day-to-day reality of our lives.

Posted by Abscondo

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