Overcoming Obstacles to Happiness

As we approach the end of the year, it’s often helpful to take stock of the past nine months and the way we’ve lived this past year. Do we approach these coming months of holidays with fear, anxiety, and stress? Why? Honestly, what obstacles are causing a traffic jam on the road to our joy? What can we do to overcome these hindrances to our happiness?

Recently on Trending with Timmerie, Timmerie talked about common areas of struggle for people who find themselves unhappy and briefly touched on some tips to overcome them.

Two areas of difficulty that Timmerie immediately empathized with were being tired and hungry all the time. These two often coincide for young parents, especially mothers, and their negative effects can compound one another. Being thoughtless due to fatigue can lead to grumpiness. And being grumpy from hunger can lead to thoughtlessness. Having additional responsibilities in our lives often throws our daily necessities out of order and we use those responsibilities as excuses. However, Timmerie argues that those are fixable things if we let them be.

But what are the less tangible, harder-hitting issues in our lives? It could be loneliness, anger, jealousy, sadness, or any number of negative emotions. “All of these are reasons that we make up in our own head, even if we don’t say it to someone else, for why we are unhappy. That’s why we’re talking about it today. Now, all of this has a solution. You know why? Because each and every single one of these things, as I mentioned, are things that we can get out of. They’re all feelings or circumstances that are changeable,” said Timmerie.

The reason many don’t escape them is because there’s no easy fix like there is for lack of sleep or food. For those, you simply eat and sleep. There’s no medicine for loneliness or anger. It’s easy to sit alone, wallowing in our vices or our worldly possessions. It gets uncomfortable when lifting ourselves out of our unhappiness becomes our responsibility and we don’t have the will or the courage to do it. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said, “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

Timmerie encourages us to live out the fourth Cardinal Virtue in overcoming the negativities that hold us back from happiness: fortitude. The first step into fortitude and striving for that greatness we are meant for is staying in touch with Our Lord. The only way to do that is through prayer. And the best way to continue to pray is through daily prayer. We should always make sure we have constant access to be able to talk to God whether it’s through the recitation of written prayer or mental prayer. Ask Him for help! He is our Father after all and He’s willing to give us the grace to help ourselves if we ask for it.

The second step Timmerie offers in living fortitude better is to be more honest with ourselves regarding the level of effort we give to avoiding our vices. Many people are doing the best they can and many only say they’re doing the best they can. While the spiritual component is half of it and there’s no overstating it’s importance, the natural component of applying those graces meaningfully falls to us.

There is an old joke of a man who prayed to God all his life so that he would win the lottery. Always struggling financially, he would get down on his knees and implore God to let him just once be gifted with that magnificent windfall of cash. He promised he would use the money for good and he would be generous and wise with the money, if only he could have enough to take care of his financial situation. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. He prayed every day, but had no luck. 80 years passed and the man died. He never won that lottery. When he got to the Pearly Gates he asked God, “Lord, I was faithful to you my entire life. All I asked is that you help me win the lottery. Why didn’t you let me win?” The Lord replied, “You never bought a ticket.”

We can beg the Lord for things until we’re blue in the face, but we have to meet Him halfway. We must do our end if we truly want to reach greatness in this life. Pray to the Lord, then let us be honest with ourselves about what we need to do to succeed.

Listen to the full talk below:

Tune in to Trending with Timmerie weekdays at 6pm CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.