Being happy all the time is not the goal;
knowing peace and joy is our true aim

Is being happy all the time a realistic goal? And should we put on a smile and just keep chugging along when tragedy hits?

As a single adult, you've learned by now that every so often, something happens in your life that knocks you out flat. No matter how strong your self-esteem or your faith in God, you get caught off guard.

Should we be happy all the time?

This guy is happy all the time

Fighting depression or sadness is almost a daily battle for some of us, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. It can also be exhausting.

It's only natural to want to be happy rather than sad, and it makes sense to want to be happy as often as you can be. I think, however, that sometimes it's healthy to grieve.

When a romance breaks up, when you lose your job, when you're told you have a serious illness, or when a loved one dies, it's appropriate to mourn that loss. Feelings of sadness and loss are necessary to help you move on. I even went into a period of grief when my dog, Charlie, died. I loved that little guy and missed him.

To suppress feelings of loss after a tragedy or to try to put on a happy face when that's not what's going on inside is dangerous. Psychologically, we need to grieve, and any doctor or pastor will agree with that.

So no, our goal should not be to feel happy all the time. We're human beings with feelings, not robots.

If not happy all the time, then what?

It's equally important to understand that all grief needs to come to an end sometime. We singles can be reluctant to move on and get on with our life.

I made the mistake of not letting failed romances go. I just couldn't get over them. Don't do what I did.

Jack's truths for thriving

Your broken heart will never mend
if you keep picking at the scab.

If you simply can't get over your grief, it's time to talk to your pastor or get professional help. It's not right to keep mourning for the rest of your life.

One of our problems as singles is that we "catastrophize." We turn things into tragedies that are not tragedies. Maybe we're miserable about not having a spouse, so we blow other disappointments out of proportion. We react to life's common ups and downs as if God or someone else has a vendetta against us.

We get into the rut of the victim mentality and lose our perspective.

It may be a cliche to say that happiness is a choice, but it's also true. While we can't and shouldn't be happy all the time, we do have it in our power to be happy more of the time. That's a worthwhile goal, eh?

If not happy all the time,
then peaceful all the time!

Even in tragedy, we can experience a sense of peace if we keep our focus on God. Frankly, it's hard to do--impossible on our own--but doable with the power of the Holy Spirit.

As Charles Stanley often says, we may get knocked off our feet temporarily by tragedy, but God stands ready to help us regain our balance. We can go through tragedy and grief if we place our trust in God.

I know this is possible because it happened to me in 2010 when I had prostate cancer. I don't give you advice unless I know it to be true. After I recovered from the initial shock, I had an enduring sense of peace while I fought that illness.

On some days, I was even happy! Imagine that. Peace can lead to happiness, and in the most unlikely circumstances.

The takeaway from all this? Don't expect to be happy all the time. Don't even try to be. Instead, focus your attention during good times and bad on God and his love for you instead of your problem.

You'll come away with a sense of peace, and a joy that is much deeper than happiness could ever be.

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