“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
The above quote featured against a zen backdrop of a koi pond on my Momentum dash. I was most obliged and intrigued to save this quote (by “Unknown”) because of the immediate disagreement I had with it.
Why is happiness defined by your ability to deal with problems? Why should your personal feeling of enthusiasm, cheer, energy and sunshine be defined by your capacity or intellect or capability to look at a problem and solve it successfully? Why do we always have to come up with the solutions for the dreary, bad bits in our lives?
After a while, I realized how idiotic I was being – questioning a quote and whittling its possibly poetic/romantic meaning down to some blistering line of a debater’s argument. On a metalevel of appreciating quotes, I was failing.
But I realized that I hadn’t overread – I’d simply skimmed the surface. This is a big deal for me because I overread and over-analyse about…say…everything…in my life. So discovering that I had under-read for the very first time (!!) was marvelous. And this feeling of deriving a truer and more fulfilling reading from my second look at the quote is as similarly marvelous.
It’s not about the problem that needs solving. It’s not about telling yourself that you must have the capacity to understand how to solve a problem or provide a solution. It’s about having an open mind in the first place to gain that ability to believe in yourself – that you can conquer the problem set in front of you.
Nobody really cares if you solve it or not. Moreover, because problems are subjective – and conflated, or deflated, or seen in odd lights, different lights – the focus isn’t on problems – it’s about gaining some form of general confidence or belief that you can solve it.
So this is my first Un-Mask Monday of 2019 – I want to un-mask or debunk my own disbelief at something, keep an open mind, and appreciate something from another perspective. And I now appreciate this quote, because it plants the seed of hope that you can be happy even just by believing in yourself.