Life is spelt H.A.S.S.L.E. — Albert Ellis, psychologist
Life is difficult. — M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist & author
Life is suffering. — Buddha
Shit happens. — Anonymous
In seeking to live a rich, full, and meaningful life, here’s what’s guaranteed: you will regularly experience fear, anger, guilt, frustration, disappointment, and sadness.
A ‘life well-lived’, a ‘flourishing’ life will always be one that comes as a package of positive and negative emotional experience. And that’s because it’s a life full of ‘stuff’ that matters.
(It is, therefore, possible to avoid negative emotional experience all together. Just don’t do anything that matters. Have no meaningful relationships, don’t seek to grow or develop at all, set no goals for yourself, never fall in love, and don’t contribute to your community. Instead, just sit on the sofa and watch reruns of Star Trek for the rest of your life.)
Wellbeing science is not attempting to make us ‘happy’ all the time or to help us avoid negative emotional experience. But it is seeking to provide evidence-based skills, knowledge, and strategies that help us handle the inevitable ups and downs of life more effectively.
A ‘good life’ still sucks at times. But we can learn, from wellbeing and human sciences, to better equip ourselves, family, friends, colleagues, and students for the journey.