By David Joel Miller.
How fast do you have to drive to reach Serenity?
The advertisers’ version of contentment and happiness is a car, preferably a convertible, and a super model of your preferred sex, driving down the highway going as fast as you can. Despite repeated efforts, most of us find no matter how fast we go we never make it to happiness or contentment.
We don’t start to look for positive emotions like contentment, serenity or happiness until we are overwhelmed by all those negative emotions. Swamped with anger and disappointment we realize we can’t run or drive fast enough to reach contentment.
What if we started the other way around?
Is it possible that the really happy person is sitting in their car in the driveway, not having anywhere they have to be? Better yet, is true happiness sitting on the grass under the tree, not having to make the payment on that new car?
Until we become so busy that we can’t do it all, we do not recognize the benefits to be had from sitting quietly and enjoying our ease.
It is only when we experience the pain of negative emotions that we are able to realize the value of those less charged positive emotions like serenity or contentment.
In the collective, we mostly say we want world peace. But inside ourselves, whether we admit it or not, most of us are hoping for some excitement, even if it comes at the price of more stress and emotional costs.
Try running a web search for “Contentment classes” and then compare those results to “Anger Management Classes.” You will find that few people are looking for contentment, but many are looking for ways to control their anger.
Is it possible that less doing and more being could have relieved this imbalance?
People who value serenity will tell you that they found their inner peace not by more searching but by sitting still and learning to appreciate where they were and what they had.
One of the great illusions of depressions is that there is something we need to find to make us happy. More things, another person in our lives, may be nice, but that sort of happiness does not last. Learning to be content by yourself, in the situation you find yourself, leads to an inner peace that may not resemble that car ad but will be a lot more valuable in the long run.
Sad to say but it appears that everyone is motivated to flee depression, anger, and anxiety, but not many people are willing to sit still and experience contentment and serenity.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books
- What is Serenity? (counselorssoapbox.com)
- You can choose your life – happiness or depression, success or failure? (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Alcohol does not help with depression (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Where have all the feelings gone? Emotions or rational logic? (counselorssoapbox.com)