«Three myths about happiness» by Pavel Verbnyak
People do not listen to their own self for many reasons. For some reason, they refuse to use a feeling of happiness as the indicator, which can help to judge events of life. There are three main myths about happiness, and they affect each of us, to some extent.
The first myth. Happiness is not something that you have deserved. The main thing is that others have it, you can wait. Many people are adamant in their belief that happiness cannot be the goal in life: goals are one thing, and happiness is quite another thing, not everyone has it. They believe it is better to make others happy because their happiness is more important than their own.
This point of view does not make sense. People focus on happiness, on maintaining and increasing its level. It is ordained by nature that our emotions affect all that we do. It is the indisputable fact that you cannot give people more than you have. If you do not have money you cannot give it to the poor, therefore, if you are miserable, you cannot make anyone happy. The best way to ensure the happiness of others is to be happy yourself and then share it with them.
Once, a wise man was walking along the road admiring the beauty of nature and tasting the joys of life. Suddenly, he saw a miserly hunched man carrying a backbreaking burden.
- Why do you, strange man, doom yourself to suffering? — the sage asked.
- I suffer for the happiness of my children and grandchildren — the man answered proudly. — Everybody have suffered: my great grandfather for the happiness of my grandfather, my grandfather for the happiness of my father, and my father for my happiness. And now it is my turn to make children and grandchildren happy.
- And has somebody been happy in your family? — the sage asked.
- But I believe that my children or grandchildren someday will be happy! — the miserly man answered sadly.
- Yes, the illiterate cannot learn to read, and the mole cannot bring up the eagle! — the sage said softly. — First you need to learn to be happy yourself. Only then you’ll know how to make your children and grandchildren happy!
The second myth is closely related to the first one: first of all we have to serve others, not ourselves. There are many books that reflect this theme. They say that we will justify our life on earth, only if we make someone happy. To some extent that is true, but not entirely.
It is true to the extent that service to others is one of the main goals of a human being. That is how we get a sense of self-worth and a sense of being. The realization that we benefit somebody gives us a sense of freedom, we rise above boredom and routine. To paraphrase the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, everybody earns a living serving someone. However, the matter is that your service should come from the overflowing happiness.
Yes, we have to serve others, but we have to receive pleasure and satisfaction as well. One of the requirements of a high self-esteem and confidence is a feeling that we contribute to the world in which we live, that we give more than we take. Thus, we serve others to make ourselves happier.
The third myth of happiness is that happiness should be such as someone else considers it to be. Often we feel uncomfortable if we do not feel joy of any event, which, in the opinion of others, should make us happy. Many people let parents influence their career choice and suffer as a result. They want to please their loved ones, but are not able to have positive emotions about what they do.
Life and happiness resemble a smorgasbord. If 100 people will come to this table and put the food they want on their plates, then everyone will have a different set of products. Even husband and wife would return with plates filled quite differently.
Happiness looks about the same. It is composed of a variety of components — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Every person requires a special combination to feel happy.