I Did Not Come Here to Suffer, or the Love of Stubborn Gladness

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Photo credit: Kymberly Janisch via Flickr

“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” –Jack Gilbert

I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed this morning, and came across this post by my beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert. She reported that she had been asked recently:

What do you know for sure?

She responded:

“I DID NOT COME HERE TO SUFFER.

Which does not mean shit always goes right. But it does mean that I try to live by the code of the late great poet Jack Gilbert: “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

A toast to stubborn gladness, then.”

Let’s take a moment and reflect: stubborn gladness. Stubborn gladness. Stubborn gladness. I realized that those two words summed up my entire life philosophy: stubborn gladness.

Stubborn gladness does not mean ignoring negativity, injustice, or social inequality. It means continuing to work in the world, while finding the good, seeing the good, loving the good, and even finding the beauty in the imperfections. Because light could not exist without dark, in the same way happiness would not exist without suffering.

Happiness is a human right, something that everyone is capable of with a little work, reframing, and contemplation. Happiness is the point of this thing we call life. It is not selfish to strive for it, work for it, and find it. 

What’s more: YOU create the life you want. YOU decide whether to fill it with passion, love, positive people, and positive actions or whether to fill it with unfulfilling actions, people, or negativity.

Happiness is everywhere: it is in your yoga pose, your friend, the smile of a stranger, a long walk. It is in your drum playing, your 10 minutes of meditation, your introspective journaling. It is in your latte from your favorite coffee shop, fall leaves, your conversation with your best friend. It is in your 5 mile run, your favorite dog, and your kale salad. It is everywhere, in everything. 

Happiness is the point.

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