Thoughts on happiness

This post is brought to you by ‘ENOUGH’ by John Naish, and some program about the Kardashians I was half-watching last night.

I was half-watching some rubbish TV last night, while waiting for C to come home … I was tired from IVFDF, looking for something totally undemanding, and found it: some program involving the Kardashians was on (isn’t their hair amazing?). The program was essentially about Kim turning 30, and happiness came up a lot – “All I want is for her/you/them to be happy” “I think if she had a good time, then I’ve done my job” “All I want is for her to be happy on her birthday” – that sort of thing. Which – in the light of having read Naish’s book recently (which has a chapter entitled “ENOUGH happiness”) – sparked off some thoughts about happiness in general. In particular about the phrase:

“All I want is for ____ to be happy”

fill in the blank with him/her/them/you/me …

Is that ever really true? I don’t think it’s something I could honestly say – sure, I want people to be happy, but it’s not all I want … I also want people to be healthy, and some-kind-of-moral (I would be upset about someone I knew being a happy rapist or a happy dealer of hardcore drugs, for example). My highest aspiration for myself would definitely not be “to be happy” – I’m not sure what it would be, but words like faithful/good/kind/generous/honest/loving would rank higher than ‘happy’.

Having said that, of course happiness (for me at least) is tied up with all of those other things. It feels good to be honest/kind/generous – at least, most of the time. There’s satisfaction in doing the right thing even when it’s unpleasant – and sometimes even if you’re miserable about it. And like Lennon’s lyric “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” I think that happiness happens while you’re doing other things.

And to end with a shameless plug: it’s Fairtrade Fortnight! If you want to be happy … you could try buying some Fairtrade chocolate. If the helping-third-world-producers bit doesn’t make you happy, the fats and sugars might.

What do you think about this – particularly about phrases like “All I want is for her to be happy” and “As long as you’re happy, I’m happy”?

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