Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happiness in Brief

Happiness is a little thing that obstinately refuses to grow bigger. No matter how we beg her to become universal and immortal, she insists on being fleeting and parochial.

Happiness is being right where you are, as the person you are, experiencing whatever it is that you experience.  It might be something that many people enjoy, or it might not.  What really matters is your attitude towards whatever it is: if you have the right attitude, one that you adopt consciously and deliberately, then you will always be happy, even when "whatever it is" happens to be something that most people would regard as something very bad. 

Happiness is breaking your leg and passing out from intense pain at the doctor's office, only to wake up later in recovery and realize that you are not dead.  For a moment you don't care about anything else (including the bill you cannot afford).

Happiness is spending years of your life trying to serve people who tell you repeatedly that they hate your guts and wish you would go to hell.  You smile and move away as they curse you, spit at you, punch you, and belittle you.  You regularly attend meetings where well-meaning fools offer you reasons why other people hate you: perhaps you are a sinful wretch, incapable of showing honest affection; or maybe you just lack some basic social awareness--your smile is awkward, you don't shake hands right, and you have this tendency to babble on instead of getting to the point when people actually let you talk instead of spitting on you.  You smile and sit through these meetings.  At the end you shake the speaker's hand and say, "Thank you very much."  And you mean it.

Happiness is going to school to qualify yourself for a job that ceases to exist soon after you graduate.  You smile and release the hope that you had for outcomes that are now impossible.  You see that the small things in life are still there for you--family, friends, food, and even work, too (though it won't be the sort of work you imagined doing as a doe-eyed undergraduate).

Happiness is being reminded constantly how people are better than you.  You learn not to mind this obvious truth.  You stop dwelling on it.  You just accept it and move past it, looking for the way to help in situations where "the best" is not what is needed (since you don't have it to offer: why spend time regretting what you never have? that will not make anyone happier).

Happiness is waking up each day and realizing that your dreams have come true, because they are small dreams--little dreams of small happiness that even the most unlucky person might expect to find fulfilled every now and then.

Happiness is realizing that you never wanted much, and that you have almost all of it nearly all the time.  If you have it, you don't need more.  A little pleasure is sufficient for the greatest happiness humans can achieve.  If you lack it, don't worry.  Human life is fleeting and yours will change soon (losing whatever it is that makes you miserable right now).

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