While perusing Facebook yet again, I noted an ad on the right hand side of the screen that stated “You DESERVE to be Happy”.  The sentence attached itself to the back of my brain and tapped at my consciousness like a splinter gained while gardening without gloves.  Had I worn gloves, I would have been less likely to get the splinter, but does that mean I DESERVED it?

I believe everyone has a right to choose happiness, but by no means do I believe that any one person ‘deserves’ it.  Happiness is something you earn. It’s something one works towards.  It’s something one can achieve if they put out the efforts to not choose to be miserable or to make others miserable, but ‘DESERVED’?  I think not.

It’s very much like the idea that ‘The customer is ALWAYS right.’  Having worked in retail as both a sales person and as a manager, I can tell you first hand that the customer is OFTEN wrong.  It takes skill and finesse to straighten out a customer in the wrong without letting them feel like you’re pointing out how very wrong they are. It takes even greater skill to not only retain the customer after they’ve been blatantly or obnoxiously wrong and greatest still to not only salvage the sale, but then to manage an up-sale before all the transactions are done.

I have no doubt that the world would be a kinder and gentler place if everyone on the planet were happy.  Would I like to see that world?  No.  States of being beyond happiness serve some important purposes.  If everyone were blissfully happy, we as a people would be less apt to innovate.  While I can easily pick several areas where I don’t believe that’s a bad thing, I love my iPhone too much to say technology and innovation is bad.  Think of the story of the Stepford Wives.  A world in which the wives were programmed to emote nothing but blissful happiness left no room for passions or creativity.  Passion and creativity are two things that MAKE ME HAPPY. Without both, my marriage, the raising of my kids and the very creation of artworks wouldn’t be possible.  And those three things…my marriage, raising of my kids and the creation of artworks…those are the very things that make me most happy.

Do I ‘deserve’ to be happy?  Yes.  I’m willing to work towards that.  Happiness isn’t a state of being but rather a state of mind.  Without periodic unhappiness, melancholy, frenzy and angst, we wouldn’t recognize happiness when we experienced it.  I wish each of you earned happiness.  More than that, I wish you passion, creativity and well being.

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