Happiness is…dealing with problems

Posted by Samantha on July 27, 2011 in Happiness, Responsibility |

Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.

H. Jackson Brown Jr., American author (b.1940)

Hardwired for struggle and problem solving!

A friend of mine, with Buddhist leanings, explained to me once that life was essentially unfair.  I have a different way of understanding this important wisdom.  I prefer to believe that things only seem unfair because I cannot see the whole picture.

I recall once, up to my eyeballs in accusations of life being unfair, I allowed myself to give my children a “lecturette” on how it might have seemed unfair to them that we weren’t bringing their bicycles to the forest this time, but that actually there were a lot of factors going into my decision (where we’d to go beforehand, where we’d to go afterwards, the time we had for our outing etc etc), which they weren’t aware of.  As the adult, I would listen to their point of view and try to accommodate it if I could, but ultimately the responsibility for the decision lay with me, and I didn’t appreciate their whinging especially as it wasn’t actually true that life was unfair and that it only seemed that way to them because they didn’t have all the information blah, blah, blah.

To their credit, they didn’t laugh at me.

To be able to solve our own problems and to thrive and grow as a result, we need to be allowed to deal with them.  As parents, it is not our job to solve our children’s problems for them.  It is their job to solve their own problems (with our help no doubt, at first) and through that struggle, to find happiness.

I’ve been listening to Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability and I love her insight that human beings are hard-wired for struggle.

One of my greatest struggles has been learning to stay out of my childrens’ struggles.

Funnily enough, the more I manage that, the happier we all become.


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