Thursday, April 7, 2011

Only Happiness?

Sometimes I feel like posting without pictures is lame, but today all I have is words. I started reading a book this evening my mother-in-law gave to me months ago called Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words. It's moving and powerful and has already got me thinking about how much influence words have. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the idea of being a licensed therapist in just a weeks' time and needing to know all the right words to say at all the right times. I'm also worried (because I'm a talker and sometimes say too many words) that I won't allow patients the opportunity to find their own words and be able to process through hard things. Sometimes I want happiness so badly for the girls I work with (and for myself) that I push away sadness and pain and hurt and anger and fear. While helping my husband write his research paper on motivation tonight, I ran across this quote from a book I read in one of my recreation classes:

When people want only happiness, they can actually undermine their own development because their quest for happiness can lead them to suppress other aspects of their experience. Wanting to be happy can lead people to avoid it (i.e.suppress) sadness when a loved one dies, or to avoid fear in the face of peril. The true meaning of being alive is not just to feel happy, but to experience the full range of human emotions.
-Edward L. Deci, Why We Do What We Do: Understaninding Self-Motivation

I remember reading this a few years ago and feeling touched by the sentiment. Tonight, again, it spoke to me. Even though being stressed, anxious, or sad isn't always wonderful, I am grateful for the opportunity to live. To experience. To understand.

Thank goodness Heavenly Father knows we wouldn't learn happiness just by being happy. I'm so glad He's in control, and not me.

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