Happiness

I have recently made contact with an old school friend, someone I lost touch with when my family moved to Queensland. Catching up on 25 years worth of news was wonderful, with many more conversations and memories yet to be shared, and laughed at!

I was struck at the end of the conversation by how easy it was; picking up the threads of our past, weaving them into our present and choosing new coloured threads for the future. Some souls never forget each other, even though the space between conversations can be 25 years wide.

During the floods, we made some new friends and although no history is shared, barrring that week of isolation, there is a connection and firmness to the friendships that, I think, doesn’t happen that often. Some souls instantly connect, even though the space between meeting and the present is only a few months distance.

For me, life is all about relationships; the relationships between us and others, between us and nature, between us and ourselves. Successful relationships are those that somehow traverse and navigate the juxtaposition of keeping ourselves happy and keeping the other person happy. It is true that we are responsible for our own happiness and that true happiness and joy are not external things that happen ‘to’ us, rather, they are internal things that happen ‘in’ us, yet the art and practice of making others happy is significant in our relationships. If all we did was keep ourselves happy, we would be living in a society full of divorce, disunity, and selfishness – oh wait….we are.

Some schools of thought are big on the “Well, if I’m happy first, then I am a better mother, wife, sister etc.” True to a certain extent, yet all around me, when I look hard enough, I can see people who place another’s happiness before their own. These are the people who seem to be the happiest, who have found peace and the joy that comes from giving. When you really boil it all down, what else do we have in life, but those we love and who love us and at the end of the day, keeping ourselves happy will really only get us so far.

Once we really and truly reconcile ourselves to the fact that we need each other, that our very existence on this planet relies on our co-dependency, only then will we see real change in our societies and relationships.

Who are you going to make happy today? πŸ™‚

6 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. Your last sentence has me thinking. If I get your point, you are saying that we should live in a more other focused life rather than one that is focused on self. I would agree with that. However when I read your challenge at the end I thought “that’s not my goal”. My goal in my relationships is not about making someone else happy. I want to serve the people around me and do this in a variety of ways just as they serve me in many ways. I think happiness can be a very nice byproduct of that. I think serving people and making them happy can be quite different things.

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  2. Fiona, thanks for your comments. I’m glad it got you thinking πŸ™‚
    I guess the last sentence wasn’t so much a statement of a goal, rather a general way of being. Are we more focused on others or ourselves?
    I agree that serving people and making them happy can be quite different things – but here’s another question for you…why do you serve people? Is it only to help them? And once you’ve served them, is their happiness increased or decreased?
    I think happiness often gets a bad rap…there is nothing wrong with happiness for happiness sake, and I think, it could be quite beneficial to us all, if more people did have the goal of making others happy πŸ™‚

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  3. I am with you on this one Personally Speaking. We sometimes do focus so much on appearing ‘happy’ we forget to nurture the people around us that do make us happy. I get sick of hearing people talk about having ‘me’ time. I once heard the mother of a newborn baby say this and I felt like saying, ‘No, actually you don’t get to have ‘me’ time for a while, it’s the baby’s turn. But maybe I’m just a grumpy old woman. πŸ™‚

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  4. Some interesting questions that you raise. Why do I serve people? The answer to that is probably that I think it’s the right thing to do. Is their happiness increased or decreased? I think it varies and I think that’s okay. If I can use parenting as an example. Children are not always happy if they are served a healthy meal instead of the snack they may have been asking for. They may not be happy with not being allowed to go out late at night. But serving them well means not always having their happiness as the goal. But your point I think is to think about others happiness rather than be continually focused on our own…and with that I agree.

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    • Oh I agree. What makes us ‘happy’ certainly isn’t always the best thing for us. And, yes, you are right, my point is…are we ‘other’s-centred’ or ‘self-centred’? πŸ™‚

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