"I actually attack the concept of happiness.
The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy -
but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness
seems to me a really dangerous idea
and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society,
which is fear of sadness.
It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying
“write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep,”
and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on.
We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish.
Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for
and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure;
all of those things which make us who we are.
Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us,
but they don’t teach us much.
Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain
they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!”
I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness”
and to replace it with the word “wholeness.”
Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?”
and if you’re having a bad day, it is."
For those of you who have been following my blog, this quote may come as a bit of a surprise, especially after my previous obnoxiously happy 5k post. At the same time, however, I think the words written above need to be given some thought.
Life, especially life in recovery, is far from perfectly happy all the time. In fact, most days are really, really difficult and there are several emotional breakdowns involved. Sure, there are brief moments of pure bliss and I think we need to cling onto those moments in order to keep pushing forward, but the truth is things really do have to get worse before they can get better.
Maybe if we shift our focus and strive for wholeness rather than happiness, accepting those bad days as a part of the process might not seem so unbearable. I absolutely, one hundred percent believe my worst days have taught me the most. As the quote states, we live in a society that fears and looks down upon sadness rather than accepting it as a part of life. No one is immune from the sadness bug and that's okay.
Trust me, I have spent way too many years of my life putting on that happy face and pretending like everything was great in life, but it got me nowhere. I'm not saying we should wallow in our hard times, but I do think an important aspect of recovery (and life in general) is to acknowledge these difficult times, learn from them, and grow - adding to our wholeness.