"how can I make that other person happy so I can be happy."
Lynn:Accept that your happiness should not depend on other people being happy. If other people were happy, would that guarantee you would be too? Why?
AS: Hi Lynn and welcome to the forum. I have been reading you but I am sorry I haven't taken the chance to say hi yet! So Hi!
I think you took my quote out of context...either that or I did not make myself clear...as usual. I am not saying that our happiness "should" depend on other people "being" happy. I am making a different argument.
A long time ago a doctor friend of mine made a very unique statement that I had never heard before and have never heard since. He asked me what makes me happy...but the way he worded it meant also "what defines me." Meaning what do I do that defines who I am that also makes me happy. I answered....love, friends, but mainly being an artist...because I am constantly challenging myself and that's fun. Then he said, now suppose something took away your ability to be an artist....what would define you and make you happy then?
I have been thinking about what it meant ever since. Even though I don't remember his exact words...I remember the gist of it....and I have thought about it so often that it remains a constant in my life.
It's like what you say about tragedy befalling you. You choose what you will to cope. Here's an example of what I mean: suppose you were stricken with a disease so horrible that it took away every thing you loved in the world. Suppose, you could not move or talk or hear or see....you still had your mind and your ability to think...but no way of ever communicating those thought to others. How would you be happy then? How would you define yourself then?
I believe we are so used to thinking in the term 'I' we have gotten lazy when thinking about any thing else. It is my belief "I"
has become an obsession.
So then I thought about it...and the horror that it would be to be alone....totally alone in our thought...and perhaps jealous that others could have such freedom...and the thought consumed me. I could see myself becoming bitter. As when things are taken away from us in this life that we feel a need or desire to want to have...to deserve to 'have' and we see others have them...I think there is an overwhelming sense of "I".
But just suppose...we could train our mind (and it is not dishonest to do so...just as it is not dishonest to get any education...is learning 'math' for instance...dishonest?) so suppose we could train our mind to get happiness from seeing others defining this life of their in their own terms of happiness? I mean happiness not in the general superficial treatment of the word...but in this type of way :
Suppose we went to see a movie for entertainment...that movie could be sad, or make us think...or learn...or it could be a comedy or a romance...it doesn't matter. We just go to the movies because it's enjoyable...so too is the pleasure we could get from watching someone live out their lives in front of us.
Suppose anything we saw... we could look at from the point of view of trying to get a greater understanding of them and us and the world? Would that not be a gift? Would that not still allow us to have an accomplishment? Could we not continue to strive to get better at it? Of course we could...since our natural state is to think "I", it would take time and diligence to think in a different manner.
I hope you don't think I am talking about regrets....sure...I've had a few...but then again too....lol ...(kidding with the frank sinatra...
) No....I am not talking about regrets. To me those are superficial. I am talking about a deep general sense of contentment not just a sense of happiness that is based on conditions.
Lynn: If you being honest would make the others unhappy, would you refrain and remain unhappy?
AS: See this is why I don't think you are understanding me. Let me ask you a question.....why do you think refraining from saying something to someone that would hurt them would ever make you happy?
My mom has a tendency to say very hurtful things under the excuse of....'it's how I 'feel'" Never understanding that others have the right then to say their own hurtful things. How on earth does that make anyone happy? Sure...for a moment she is "relived" to get it all out. But then what about tomorrow? Or the day after?
Not that I haven't said my share of "honest" things. I have. Also, it is not dishonest to say nothing.
I have also tried the other way and have had "honest" conversations with people about the way I feel. Only to stop and ask myself, "Who the hell am I to think that everyone must hear everything I think? And why do I think it's my duty to tell them everything they do wrong? Because it annoys me? Because I am "helping" them be a better person? What makes me think I am the better person? For all I know it could be them...as I am not inside them and I can't know what they know."
It has been my experience, that keeping my 'vinegar' inside is much better for my happiness all around. It's better for my 'egotistical' happiness that you speak about and for my outer happiness. Simply because when I choose to work on my own "demons' if you will, inside, I have no consequences to face if I should be wrong.
But don't think I am always successful. Trust me, I am not. I fail most of the time. But...still...even by trying ...I am getting a good work out and I feel as if I am accomplishing a goal of some sort. If nothing else it is a good experiment.