Appreciating The Opposite Of Joy

I’m going to attempt to explain something that is the cause of so many thoughts and questions from myself, the one thing I seem to keep relearning over and over again; because somehow, it just never quite sticks. The reason why we need to know misery, in order to know joy. Of course, this is from my own perspective, but easily applies to all of us.

Being happy is an amazing feeling and the lifetime pursuit of every human being. It's desirable, it feels great and life is just better that way! But let’s just think about this for a moment- would we know what happiness is if we did not know what sadness is? Would we be able to identify the feeling of relief and sweetness that happiness brings or would it just be a common, dull, ordinary feeling that we are used to?

Our senses are heightened after we have known and felt the opposite of happiness. An injured person feels and appreciates the splendour of healing and being whole- AFTER going through the injury and knowing the pain it brought. A hungry person feels contentment and gratitude when they eat because they know the miserable feeling of being without food. Without this feeling, what need would they have to be thankful for food? They would not even have the desire for food in the first place! Meaning, they would miss out on that beautiful feeling of gladness.
We all go through tough times, some are harder than the rest. They leave us feeling beat down, miserable and at times utterly helpless. They leave us asking so many questions and feeling so much doubt. They create holes in us that we sometimes don’t know how to feel. They lead us to the painful realisation of our weaknesses and vulnerability. But would you believe me if I told you that was only the beginning?

That is only the beginning of a great story, that is only the beginning of a remarkable song, that is only the beginning of a life well-lived, that is only the beginning of a stronger and braver person, that is only the beginning of an influential person whose story will touch and change the lives of others, that is only the beginning of a life of joy, relief, gladness, strength, integrity, appreciation and love. That, my dear, is only the beginning.

Would we ever be thankful for sunshine if there was no rain? No storms? I’m afraid not. Instead, the sun would become an irritation; it would become so common that from a tiny age we become indifferent to it, its sole existence would affect the entire ecosystem. There would be no flowers, no trees, and no food plantation. There would be a drought, affecting you and me. We would basically die. Mankind as we know it, and earth as we know it, would be a complete disaster. We need both the rain and the sunshine to survive and to thrive.

Take a step back for a moment and ponder whether your life would be filled with as much joy and happiness as it has or has had in the past were it not for hardships that you had to pass through. I can positively assure you that my own life experiences, as difficult and painful as they have been- have strengthened me and taught me the true meaning of joy and happiness. It is not in the absence of pain and misery, but rather, in the overcoming of it.

Let us resolve to look at our trials and difficulties as opportunities. Opportunities to learn, opportunities to be stronger, opportunities to influence and be teachers by example, opportunities to learn humility and meekness, opportunities to know true joy. Let us resolve to see them as the beginning; the beginning of a life of abundance. Because really, that is what they are. There truly must needs be opposition in all things. We need to know heat to know there is cold, we need to know sour to know that there is the sweet, we need to feel pain in order to know relief, and likewise, the sadness we feel will help us realise happiness.