What do you believe happiness is?  A reader recently emailed me saying that happiness is to be without problems.

I completely disagree.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them” – Steve Maraboli

I recently came across that quote online and it had obviously been passed around a lot through email and website chains.  And while I truly believe it makes a lot of sense and understand it (most might even be amazed at it), I still disagree with it to a point.

You see, that style of thinking still supports the idea that ‘problems’ (or in other words, the concept of “wrong”, “bad”, “negative” etc) exist intrinsically.  But that’s completely false.  Something itself is not a “problem”. You are the one that assigns a situation, an event, or an experience the meaning of being a so-called, “problem”, or “disaster”, or “nightmare” or “miserable situation” or whatever.

“Right” or “wrong” are not natural states of anything.  An act, a situation, an experience, or even an object is not “right” or “wrong” as part of their natural existence, they just are what they are – experiences, situations, or objects.  They have no meaning.  The ability to make something become “right” or “wrong” is due to your own value system making a subjective judgment.  You are the one that creates the ideas, opinions, and judgments towards a thing to give it the identity of being “right”, or “wrong”. Where “right” simply means it works for you, you agree with it, or it serves you in being who you are.  And where “wrong” means you don’t agree with it, it doesn’t work for you, and it does not serve you in being who you are.

A thing is only “right” because you say it is.  A thing is only “wrong” because you say it is.  Period.

So in truth, nothing is “right”, or “wrong”, or “good”, or “bad” until you make it so.  And honestly – all situations are opportunities – chances – and means for you to express yourself, learn, grow, and develop whom you really are now, into whom you really wish to be.

There are no problems in life – there are only opportunities.  And with these opportunities, it is what you think of them, do about them, and be in response to them that gives them meaning.

Meaning controls everything.

The best part is – YOU are ALWAYS in complete control over what you assign meaning to, as well as what the meaning is you assign.  Even if you’ve already assigned a meaning to a specific event – whether consciously, or not – you can change it’s meaning at any time, and therefore change the situation!

I always hear people say that problems are a fact of life – which are unavoidable and it’s best to just deal with them.  Again, I completely disagree with that idea and style of thinking.  What should be stated is that change is often unavoidable.

Life itself is change – continuous change.  In fact, the only constant thing in life itself is change.  The ever ongoing exchange of give and take, offer and receive, death and life, summed up perfectly with one word and concept: Love. Which, I guess means you could say that life itself, is Love.

Is it possible to live a problem free life?


Choose to.

However, is it possible to live life free of change?


Life is based on an unavoidable eternal truth called the law of impermanence.  What is born must die.  What begins will end.  What is created will be destroyed.  What is new now, will be old later.  Etc.

And it’s all perfection.

The changes currently going on in your life are perfect. You might disagree with that statement because due to those changes, you might be experiencing pain.  Maybe your relationship ended, maybe you lost money, maybe you lost a loved one, maybe you are in a new environment, maybe you are experiencing different responses from people socially – it could be any number of things going on.  They are all changes.  It’s necessary – it’s perfect.

The pain you are experiencing is a result of your resistance to accept change.  You may be holding onto what once was, which may not be there anymore.  You are holding onto the attachments to a previous idea, person, feeling, status, situation, environment, or luxury where now it may not be there anymore.

Let go.

Release your attachments.

Learn to accept change – without judgment, without anger, without resentment or hesitation. Doing so could be the ultimate source and supply to your happiness.  Welcome change.  Have gratitude for the changes going on in your life.  It’s leading you to more growth, expression, new situations and experiences, new people, new love, new challenges – all of which are making you a better person and offering you a never ending supply of adventure and opportunity.

Always carry and express gratitude for what is in your life.  For everyone and everything in your life now – appreciate, appreciate, and appreciate.  Express gratitude daily, moment by moment.  When change happens and something or someone leaves your life, express gratitude for what has left.  Be grateful for the experiences shared, the lessons learned, and the opportunity created. When something or someone new enters your life, express gratitude.

Love is always the answer.

I’m Shaun, just a spirit trying to be human… Thanks for reading.

[photo credit]