Leaving happiness behind in 2018

Lizzy Arnold, Editor-in-Chief

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To many people, the world can be a troubling place. It would be ignorant not to recognize the thousands of people struggling worldwide. There is often what seems to be constant chaos surrounding many areas of our lives. Life is hard; that is a well-known truth. Society places so much importance on appearing happy. But what is happiness? One feels happiness only in situations where it can be induced. Happiness is felt when going on a trip, getting a good grade or hearing good news. Happiness is being in your comfort zone; it is situational. Humans constantly invest in whatever they feel may help achieve this idealized condition of ‘happiness.’

But what happens when things turn sour? When those plans are canceled? When important tests are failed? When bad news is received? Happiness fades. Happiness is temporary and unsatisfying. Yet people continue to turn to it time after time. And I am sick of it.

We need to choose joy. Joy can be possessed in the darkest of times. Joy does not have to be earned and can never fade. Joy is permanent, and joy is filling. Other emotions can accompany joy, which is part of its beauty. There can be joy alongside grief or pain. Joy is being able to humble oneself and know things will get better. Joy is recognizing that when something goes wrong, it is a learning experience and life goes on. Joy is finding something to focus on and take comfort in: knowing one has a place to live, an opportunity for an education, parents who care, or even clean drinking water.

Virtually anything can be taken into focus to find joy. People tend to push aside these simple things in search of temporary happiness, but joy is real.

If people were more accepting of joy into their lives, I believe that the world would be a better place. A change in mindset can drastically improve quality of life; it can bring light into some of the darkest times. Joy differs from happiness through the idea that happiness exists in duality with sadness. You can be one or the other; they are simple emotions. I believe that joy is the most complex of emotions but also the most powerful. There is joy in so many things, and positive or negative experiences alike can bring joy.

The challenge I would like to pose is for more people to become aware of the trap that temporary happiness lays out and choose to find joy instead. This new year I encourage them to choose joy not only in the good but also in the negative emotions that they are bound to encounter. Joy is more fulfilling and satisfying, and it is an emotion that has changed my own heart as well as the way I strive to treat others. Bringing joy to others lives is essentially what I believe the purpose of life is. In a world where happiness is glorified, I intend to bring joy in 2019.

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