What Is Your Groundwork of All Happiness?

Last updated: September 2019

I was sitting at the pharmacy the other day, where it seems I spend 90% of my time and money these days, waiting on yet another prescription to be filled. My body was too tired to wander around the store searching for things to buy that I didn’t really need. So I sat in the uncomfortable chair, just looking around as I waited. I wasn’t playing on my phone or surfing Facebook. I just sat there and watched the world go by me.

The groundwork of all happiness

It was then that my eyes spotted a large, bold graphic on the wall of the drugstore. There, in giant, brightly colored letters it said, “The groundwork of all happiness is health.”  It is apparently a fairly popular quote by poet, Leigh Hunt. I sat for a minute, thinking about it. I found it very interesting. Why a company would choose this particular quote to place so boldly across its wall?

The relationship between health and happiness

It seems innocent enough, drawing a parallel relationship between health and happiness. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. Maybe it was my recent round of steroids taking over (rocking a bit of ‘roid rage and all) or maybe I had a legitimate reason to be angry about it. Are you telling me that the only way I can be happy is if I’m healthy? Or perhaps without my health, I don’t have a chance at happiness?

That is a rather bleak perspective

If you think about it, the true nature of a chronic condition is just that, a chronic health condition. Meaning, no cure. No “health.” So if that is the case, as this quote and company so boldly claims, that the groundwork of all happiness is health, I might as well pack it in now. I clearly don’t have a chance at happiness if I don’t have a chance at being healthy.

Clearly whoever made the choice of this particular quote doesn’t have a chronic illness. Is that the right mentality for a company to promote? Is that a quote that is motivating, positive, or uplifting? When I’m in the middle of being “sick” is this what I need? Perhaps there is an element of truth to it I suppose. It is certainly more difficult to be happy when you have psoriatic arthritis. But is health really the groundwork of happiness? I say no.

Rather, happiness can be found in life, even without perfect health.

The groundwork of all happiness is family.

The groundwork of all happiness is empathy.

The groundwork of all happiness is support.

The groundwork of all happiness is community.

The groundwork of all happiness is _________.

How would you fill this in? What is the groundwork of your happiness? It is this that I find comfort what I’m flaring. I remind myself that there is more to my happiness than feeling “good.” I have to change my mentality and find my happiness in other things. I have to look for happiness in my family, in feeling empathy for others, in offering support, understanding, and community. That, my friends is the groundwork of happiness, not health.

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