Posted by: Judy | December 22, 2016

Meme Debunking

Found on social media: “Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and say thank you to God for the troubles we don’t have.”

It’s in the same vein as “Don’t waste food because there are children starving in China.”

There’s truth to the words, but they’re wholly inadequate and fall into the category of “If the philosophy fits in a nutshell, it should probably stay there.”

Narcissists want a permanent state of happiness… having written that, I can easily see the original quote being something a narcissist would say. I grew up with:

“He who complains has too much.”

“Think of all the people who are worse off than you.”

“If you’re sad, you need to be more grateful.”

The list of verbal whips is endless.

Is there any way to save this quote?

The Truth: Happiness is not a permanent state, blessedly. A world without sorrow would make the world void of happiness. Without sorrow, how would you know what happiness was?

I don’t regret mourning the loved ones who have passed on. The grief is a tribute to my love for them.

You also have to ask how do you define happiness? Is it realistic?

Happiness isn’t something that happens to you. Happiness is something you choose. Sometimes choosing happiness is inappropriate. Sometimes choosing happiness is inconceivable.

Granted, complaining can act as a stumbling block to happiness. However, complaining to the right person can also solve the problem.

Christians believe in bearing one another’s burdens, mourning with those that mourn. How is that possible if we don’t complain?

I can hear some saying, “That’s not complaining!” Says who?

There in lies part of the problem. What is your definition of complaining?

Someone listening to my sister and I chat could very well accuse of us complaining. We call it venting. There’s usually a purpose as well. Nattering at each other helps us process what happened and find solutions.

There’s also a difference between those who make complaining an art form and those who are simply struggling. The first can find fault with a fat goose. The latter expresses gratitude and looks for the positive, even when no positive is in sight. It’s the difference between a perpetual naysayer and someone going through a rough patch. Sometimes the rough patch lasts a while.

I suppose what I truly dislike about the quote is the level of dishonesty required. Sorry, but sometimes I’m not grateful for the problems I don’t have. I need to rephrase that. It isn’t that I’m not grateful. However, being grateful my car hasn’t blown up doesn’t help me work through my twisted knee. However, complaining about my twisted knee, my sister reminded me to use my essential oils. Voila! Knee is improving. Blessedly.

Lies always stand in the way of happiness, a roadblock, barricade, firewall.

I’ve attempted to rewrite the quote. Maybe you can come up with something better.

Instead of “Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and say thank you to God for the troubles we don’t have,” maybe it could be “Happiness comes when we stop lying, especially to ourself, share our burden with trusted others and allow them to share theirs, embrace gratitude for all we’ve been given, and accept that life is hard.”




  1. I like your revision. Works for me.

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