HAPPINESS HAS ITS LIMITS
One thing the Behaviorist and the Freudians and the Attachment people all agree upon: we want to be happy. The pursuit of happiness had the hottest new therapy model . This article counters it with some well founded points. “The happy man is a hollow man,” notes one of the researchers.
Some have accused me of being a happiness guru. Not true. Emotional Fitness Training is about wisely managing negative feelings not avoiding them. Avoiding them is impossible, trying to deny them dangerous in many ways. Dennis Prager defined as a being on the right if not a Tea Party man, sees the quest to be happy as one reason so many avoid facing what he believes are hard facts about life in our world.
One of the difficulties lies in how happiness is defined. One person’s pleasure is often another person’s pain. This fact runs the train track from different tastes in food to different sexual preferences to masochism. Happiness is individually defined and is as the article points out fairly elusive.
I have found several less researched thoughts on happiness helpful in staying strong. Beverly Sills, a well-known opera singer, had two special needs children and always seemed happy. She denied that she was happy, but said she tried to stay cheerful particularly in her dealings with others. When I suggest Practicing Kindness I think it means being cheerful with all you met–unless they are in obvious pain. Then a different typle of kindness is required.
As a young adult, I read the Microbe Hunters by Paul de Krief. Some where in that book is the phrase “Blessed are those who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.” Blew my mind and became a mainstay in my personal efforts to be strong. The microbe hunters kept trying, but also accepted the reality that results are elusive and not fully dependent on personal efforts. This coupled well with Alice Walker’s line, “Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.” The selling of happiness, particularly by the media has been harmful to us all.