Are you like me? Do you have struggles in your life? Of course, we all have struggles. I’ve never meet one person who hasn’t faced difficulties at one time or another. But, for some reason, many of us don’t give ourselves credit for our struggles.
Credit you ask? How in the world could I get credit for my struggles?
We give our “pioneer” ancestors credit for building the foundation for the lives we enjoy today. For example, we revere persecuted pioneers who first crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of freedom in the Americas. We venerate the framers of the Constitution of the United States. We extol the character and grit of “The Greatest Generation” who stood up and conquered aggressors who were inflicting pain and suffering across the world in the mid-20th century. And, we rightfully do so.
Do you and I relate to these pioneers because we’ve followed in their footsteps as pioneers ourselves? Pioneers struggle against all odds to get what they want. If you often have tussles but don’t give yourself truffles in the form of credit like we do for pioneers, perhaps it’s time for a change of view.
If you begin to see yourself as a pioneer and give yourself credit for the progress you’re making in your journey, could you have more joy in your life?
Your journey as a pioneer doesn’t require you to wear a wig or a funny black hat. You don’t even have to wear a uniform. You simply have to be working against the odds to get what you want for yourself, your children and grandchildren, born or yet to be born.
Have you ever stayed up all night caring for an ill child, giving comfort and care? Then you’re a pioneer. Have you struggled to learn important concepts in school, or on the job, so you can improve yourself? Then you’re a pioneer. Have you ever lost your job and struggled to find a new one, so you could support yourself and your family or others? Then you’re a pioneer. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
The hidden key to happiness is not really hidden, according to Ed Diener, who is a psychology professor at the University of Utah and the University of Virginia. Diener is a pioneer in the field of positive psychology and the study of happiness, or, as he calls it, “subjective well-being.”
“Happy people,” Diener says, “tend to have work they enjoy and devote themselves to a higher purpose, whether it’s your family or religion or some bigger things in life.”
He also says that “most happy people also have one thing in common — good, supportive social relationships.”
Pioneers struggling in any time have benefited from supportive social relationships and we could support each other toward greater happiness by recognizing everyone around us for who they really are — struggling pioneers.
Struggle binds us together as one. It makes us better people. It creates a stronger foundation for those coming behind us. And, it makes the truffles of life that much sweeter.
Let’s give ourselves, and those around us, a few more truffles as we struggle against the odds for greater happiness in the future.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.