“Life will bring you great pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.” — Milton Erickson

Joy and pain are two sides of the same coin, with that coin being life. Unfortunately for some, they forget that you can manually turn the coin over instead of flipping it and hoping it lands on a favorable side. Because of this, they end up stuck on the side that life gives them. Or even worse, they purposefully and prematurely flip it back over. 

Obviously it’s incredibly difficult to flip the coin over sometimes. If we follow the metaphor, that’s the equivalent of l]completely flipping our life upside down. Sometimes we don’t have the stability to do this. Sometimes it’s too scary and we end up frozen in place. Sometimes we lack the resources. Whatever the reason, it isn’t always possible to change everything about ourselves.

That being said, we don’t always have to change everything about ourselves. Instead we simply have to seek joy. Like the quote says: life will bring us great pain all by itself. This means that seeking out things that only bring us pain throws our life out of balance and results in us being lost, dazed, and confused. Instead we must search for things that bring us joy. Sometimes we can’t do something and get pure joy from it, but joy in and of itself is all we’re looking for — sometimes that goes hand in hand with something undesirable or even painful. The best example I can think of is getting out of a toxic relationship. For the person who decides to leave, it can be incredibly painful to back out. Mind numbingly painful even. Regardless of this pain, a separation results in overall joy for both parties. Another good example is an intense, painful workout. Your muscles might be aching and weak, and you might feel useless afterwards in terms of strength. Give it a few days, some good sleep, and enough protein however, and you come back stronger than before (and thus happier).

The idea behind stoicism isn’t always to “just feel better.” Things such as mental illnesses prevent this. What we can do, however, is try to appreciate the good things that we DO have. Then and only then will we find improvement. Then and only then can we grow.

Take some time to smell the roses.




Like what you read? Be sure to share this post with your friends and family, comment, and follow this page. It helps me out a lot, and you can always change your mind later. Also, feel free to ask questions! Conversations work better than lectures. Stay tuned for future posts, and try to be the reason someone smiles today 🙂