There is a great quote in the 2009 movie Ondine . . . “Misery is easy. Happiness you have to work at.”
I have found this to be unquestionably true in my own life, but I am wondering WHY it is true. Why is it easier to be miserable than to be happy? Why does happiness take effort and intent?
In the United States’ Declaration of Independence, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are considered inalienable rights. The founding fathers must have known a thing or two about life when they penned that historic document. They did not say that people have a right to be happy, but only to pursue it.
I find this interesting because a pursuit is an active thing. It isn’t passive. To pursue happiness requires that we have a goal in mind (the thing that will bring us happiness) and that we actively work to achieve that goal.
Misery, on the other hand, is passive. Misery says, “My life is not what I want it to be, but I’m too _______ to do anything about it.” People fill in the blank in many different ways, but the bottom line is they are not willing to invest in their own happiness.
In fact, some may not even see themselves as responsible for it. Instead, they may view happiness as a mere reaction to having everything go their way without having to work to bring it about.
For me, I am happiest when I am doing what I love to do. My happiness is in the doing. Yet, even more than it being about the achievement of a goal, it is about the journey toward that goal.
It reminds me of when my sister and I would play with our dolls when we were kids. We would spend hours setting up the scenes, planning the story line, and getting everything ready. Yet, we always ended up having more fun preparing to play with our dolls than we ever did actually playing with them.
I think that is why they say that the joy is in the journey, not in the destination. Happiness requires effort because if there is no goal, there is no journey. And if there is no journey, there is no joy.