The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain is both intuitive and popular. Despite this, it is far from the truth. Pleasure alone cannot make us happy.
We need pain to provide a contrast for pleasure; without it, life becomes dull, predictable, and straight up undesirable. Pain makes you aware of what is going on RIGHT NOW. While that might now seem like a good thing on the surface, being in the moment is a skill people work hard to gain through meditation, mindfulness, and even yoga.
Being in the moment means you’ll be less likely to ruminate about what happened yesterday or worry about what could happen tomorrow. Learning to stay in the moment—even when you’re not in pain—can help you love a happier life.
There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Happiness isn’t the absence of pain. Instead, the secret to living a happier life involves believing you have enough mental strength to embrace your pain and learn from it.