If Only It Were as Easy as 2 + 2

The key to happiness better be able to fit a thousand locks.

Welcome back to Happiness 101. In last’s week’s article (below), we began a discussion about what would be taught in a class on happiness. The homework assignment was to comment on what happiness means to you. Among the many excellent comments were also questions posed as to what happiness truly is. Some stated it wasn’t a goal in itself but rather an effect created by living congruently. All in all, it brought me lots of happiness each time I read them.

Happiness 101

There was never a doubt that one of the biggest challenges I’d face was that happiness is not a subjective answer. It’s not as simple as 2 + 2. Grading homework would have been very difficult and probably based more on grammar and writing styles rather than content. If there were any answers that would have caused me to mark a lower score those would have been: A) if your idea of happiness included damaging or offending others or 2) if you criticized others about their thoughts on or definitions of happiness.

None of the answers ever suggested that happiness was ever at the expense of anyone else. On the contrary, most seemed to imply that happiness was more easily achieved when you made time to help and uplift others.

What also was curiously omitted was the accumulation of wealth. While some mentioned having a good job, it was with the understanding of enjoying it – as a part of a life balance – rather than enlarging one’s own bank account.

Potentially, the definitions of happiness are as vast as the population of the globe. Even though I may not have agreed with a particular view, it was illuminating to see them defend their case for why it was so. The last thing I would ever want to do as a teacher would be to dissuade or discourage a student on such a personal and private concept.

It is nearly impossible to live a life where everything is smooth and no problems exist.

Lesson two would begin with an unexpected twist. What about those times when we are not happy but instead upset, sad, or some other feeling more closely associated with unhappiness? Does that have any significance? It is nearly impossible to live a life where everything is smooth and no problems exist. While I believe there are those who thrive in challenging situations, others, including myself, would rather avoid those circumstances and seek a non-confrontational approach. However, if we are to grow as human beings, facing these challenges and adversities ought to be expected. Understanding this idea and in some ways embracing it, will help remind us that it’s simply normal to have difficult or troubling times. I use the word “embracing” not as something to look forward to but rather realizing it’s a normal occurrence. There is nothing wrong with your plan because struggles arise. Wanting to “give up” is a typical reaction for many and having that thought won’t stop you from achieving happiness.

This week’s assignment is: What do you do when you are experiencing those challenging moments? How do you get through them and what helps motivate you toward success?

This is also a good lesson in helping others, which as we know by now is an indication you’re on the road to happiness.


John Dunia
John Dunia
John has a passion; and that is helping others heal from past difficulties and abuses. Healing became important when he realized how much it freed him from his own past and now works to help others experience that liberation. The key to his success was discovering that the most debilitating damage was his own shame and the destructive things he believed about who he was. Throughout his own healing journey, he became hyper-aware of how shame was affecting him while having little clue of its presence. Others noticed these changes and reached out to him for help. His methods were so effective that he made it a mission to shift his career into helping others. Adopting the term “ShameDoctor”, he continues to teach others to empower themselves through his remarkably effective techniques. “Shame is one of the biggest yet least talked about issues we face as individuals and society yet so very little is mentioned about it.” It is his purpose to change the way the world perceives shame and promote helpful and viable techniques to heal and overcome those past struggles. John’s book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based thinking” was self-published in 2016. In addition to working with clients, John also writes healing and insightful articles each week. He is also looking forward to speaking on the topics of shame and healing throughout the globe.

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