Remove the splinter
You were told many times today how to make yourself happy. Advertising, magazines, TV, workplace, friends, music, career. Just about every situation you find yourself in is geared to make some passive or surreptitious judgement on your relative happiness. RELATIVE happiness. It seems that this elusive quality can only be measured in the context of someone else’s quotient of it. Now, I’m not going to get involved in a philosophical debate about the existence of ‘happiness’ and what qualities it may imbue. Suffice to say that it is something that most people seem to believe is both achievable and desirable.
So everyone has this internal, all encompassing, 3 dimensional diorama of what happiness represents to them. It’s not something that exists now, it is something that can (and should) be built. How did this vision of happiness come to be the shape that it is? Well let’s examine a few of the major dimensions:
- The job X rungs up from where we are now
- Y% more money
- The new Z car
- a house with 2 extra bedrooms
- X% bigger tits
- Fitting in with the crowd that has all that stuff
These are some of the trinkets of prestige. Why do you desire these things, and what evidence do you have that they will increase your happiness? Mostly you have seen other people with these things, and more. You have seen visions of these happy objects and situations in relation to happy people. You have been told they are good. Any maybe they are. They may well be good for those people who already have them. When you find yourself with these things maybe you will be happy. But are those two advents correlated? Maybe, but more likely not. It may well be, that when you find happiness it will be despite those things, not because of them. Another way to look at this is what you also get when you have these things:
- Longer hours and more stress
- Higher tax
- Higher insurance and maintenance
- The requirement to sustain a higher level of earnings to maintain the repayments
- Men looking at your tits and making you feel a bit uncomfortable & an insecure husband
- Bad company
To add insult to injury you’ve spent the last X years feeling like your life isn’t complete, slogging your guts out trying to attain your dream, only to find a jug of sludge, rather than the fabled pot of gold.
But you know all this already don’t you? You know these things won’t bring you happiness, but are just another ratchet in the machine. But you are a slave to your desires, at least that is what you believe. Your place in happy, wealthy, prestigious society depends on them. How do you escape the vicious cycle?
You already answered your question. The problem is the desire. You are so convinced that things can make you happy, the status and wealth will afford you, the respect and happiness, that you’ve lost site of the real enemy. The enemy is the desire itself. If you get a splinter in your finger, you don’t try and replace the finger, you remove the splinter – the cause of the pain. The same goes for desire – concentrate your energies on reducing these desires, and you’ll slowly but surely become more comfortable in yourself, and thus more content. Stop focusing on what other people have, that you have not, but rather consider what you already have and celebrate this. Stop focusing on other peoples’ expectations of you, and concentrate of what will bring about the best for you and those close to you. Will this bring happiness? Possibly. At the very least you’ll be in a better position to judge what happiness is and what further steps need to be taken to achieve it. You should not curtail your efforts to find this ephemeral quality of happiness, but rather stop labouring for someone else’s version of what qualities constitute happiness.
Stop comparing yourself and your life other people. Start looking around you at what you have now, as these are the building blocks for your future, not dreams based on others’ reality.
Don’t take my word for it, read these words from some much cleverer people on the subject.