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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" 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 elusive as it may, indeed be in the day-to-day reality of our lives.

I would love your comments and feedback. Email me at



I have been thinking about this as there is a lot of dicosusisn going on in the media about what makes a person happy, and indeed what is happiness. To me it is a state of mind but what makes me happy? There are all the usual trite comments about money, health, property. However I can think of many people who have these, all or in any mix, and are not happy. There is also one which is being mooted around that you can create happiness by doing a good turn for a stranger every day. In this climate I can foresee a lot of problems if a good deed is forced on someone, not everyone would accept it in the spirit it is meant. From several happenings and dicosusisns I have had this week I have come to the conclusion that what makes me happy is friendship. For this and in this I am truly happy. I hope this does not make me seem smug but it is how I feel, I know it is not advice but hope other contributors may feel the same way.

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