I read recently that the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference. So, what is the opposite of happiness?
I asked this question because, in all of our collaborative divorces, we strive to enable our clients to set goals, those targets that they believe will lead to their future happiness, if not immediately, then a year or two post-divorce. So, it’s useful for us, as collaborative practitioners, to know what happiness is and what it is not.
It’s certainly not sadness. I would argue that, if love and hate are not opposites, then neither are happiness and sadness. On the other hand, if the opposite of love is apathy or indifference, then the opposite of happiness must surely be boredom.
Why is understanding happiness important?
Well, it’s really because we can’t help our clients focus on happiness without truly understanding happiness. So, if the opposite of happiness is boredom, then happiness must really be about what? Excitement! And if we understand that happiness is really about excitement than the questions we should be asking our clients are: “What will it take for you to be excited about your life post-divorce? What is your passion? How can we ensure that you follow your bliss? And what then will it take for you to be happy a year after you are divorced?”
Now let’s take it one step further.
The reality is that, even if we find the best relationship, we can’t expect to be happy and excited forever. If we, as collaborative professionals, are trying to help our clients, not only in their immediate problem, but going forward, we would be doing them a disservice by encouraging them to only stay in relationships in which they are happy and excited. Just as with anything else in life, relationships ebb and flow. The key during the not-so-exciting times is to recognize what drew you into the relationship to begin with, and to determine whether the low points are worth the exciting times that will likely follow.
By coaching divorcing spouses in this way, we will not only better guide our clients to understanding where they will find their bliss, i.e. more positive, rewarding relationships, but we will teach them how to recognize when they should stay in them because there are happy, exciting times to come.
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About this week’s author Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.