For the past week or two (or month or two) I have been thinking a lot about happiness, and what makes different people happy. I've been watching a lot of couples, families, and singles, and people as individuals inside those groupings, and watching to see who appears to be happy.
If there is one thing I have learned from my observations it is that we all have different criteria for happiness. I have a feeling this will be an on-going thought process of mine, but I'd like to share what I have observed in batches.
1. I watched one woman who appears to be able to have it all. But what makes her happy is having her essential needs met. She doesn't "have it all" in my personal opinion. In fact, I think she sells herself short, and she knows it, but tells herself she is happy because her essential needs are met. I feel truly sorry for this person. I wish she cared enough about herself to want better for herself, because she could have it. I honestly think she tells herself she's not worth it, so she doesn't care, and she's happy as is. I could be wrong. But I doubt it.
2. One woman has what I consider to be a very difficult life. She has to work harder than pretty much everyone I know. I can't describe her life too much because I don't want to break what little anonymity I want to provide here. Her essential needs are barely met each week. If she were to just break down sobbing and say she can't take it anymore, and would somebody please help her, I wouldn't blame her at all. I hope she knows I'd be there for her, and that I try to be there for her. But here's the thing, she's happy. And I think it is because she has to work so hard that she can enjoy what she has more.
3. One woman revels in problems. She just attracts the crap of life. She couldn't see a silver lining if you put it in her hand. She always seems surprised to be happy or when good things happen. Overall, she seems to be a happy person. But the closer you get to her, the more you realize she's hurting all of the time.
4. Another woman is a lot like the first woman. Her needs are met and then some. She has big goals and plans. She is the opposite of the first woman in the sense that she never stops trying and reaching. She is one of the most positive, friendliest, happiest people I know, even when she's had trials thrown at her. She's also one of the few people who's advice I actually listen to.
So here's what I've concluded from my observations. People who have to work at happiness, are happier. The people who are willing to say "this isn't actually what i want, but i'm afraid of what i might want" are never truly happy. I would venture a guess that half of you reading this thing that is a no-brainer. At least, I hope half of you feel that way. I hope happiness is that obvious to half the population. But I fear it isn't.
And this is one of the reasons I want to go into foster parenting and a few other activities. It's a little related to the old saying, "idle hands are the devil's workshop." My essential needs are met. I can take care of myself with little effort. And that brings me no happiness. it is working and doing more, trying for more, reaching further than before, that brings happiness. It isn't settling for the simplest options. To me, happiness will never be found by accepting the simple basics as good enough.
A really bad analogy.
A ham sandwich made from my refrigerator meets my basic hunger needs.
A ham sandwich from La Madeleine's Cafe makes me happy.
But when I am in financial straits and money and food are hard to come by, and I have to struggle to afford the ham sandwich from my refrigerator, I am happy to have a ham sandwich. La Madeleine's is not even on my radar. It is something other people need and want. But when my bank account is full, Oscar Mayer doesn't taste anywhere near as good.
The real question is how much do you need in life, (basic needs to be met), to be happy?
This isn't actually about money. So I'm going to keep rambling on. Also, I hate ham. I will never like Oscar Mayer. The only way I will ever eat ham is if it is fancy ham that has never been date stamped and put on a grocer's shelf.
For some women, all they need is a man who can provide A, B, C. It isn't about finding a man who excites them and they can't wait to be with him. It is about having their essential needs met. (without making this a Pride and Prejudice discussion, this woman would best be described as Charlotte Lucas). But for other women, it is about A, B, C, and love. They want to be excited by their man. (Elizabeth Bennett) And now we have a new type of woman in this world (yes, I'm one of them) that says, I can give myself A, B, and C. All I want is D. Why would I settle for essential provisions, when I can do that for myself? And I guess, what I am wondering tonight, is about those women who wanted just A,B,C. Do they stay happy forever? Or do they just stay in their routine because they were never "reachers" to begin with? I personally can't imagine being happy like that. But I accept that there are some people who might.
And yes, I do realize, and we can skip right over this discussion, that there are many women who went for "D," and lost it in divorce. I'm not looking for a discussion on whether or not it is right. I'm looking for a discussion on happiness without goals or expectations, and whether or not that is possible.
I hope that makes some sense.
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