What makes “people” happy?
I understand a long time ago that life is not about fame or money. I read delivering happiness and it clearified it for me even more.
I had this kind of discussions way too often already with young entrepreneurs or investment bankers:
me: Why do you do your start-up/investment?
him: I don’t know, to get rich, be recognized.
me: Why do you need the money?
him: To be free to do what I want to be happy.
me: What makes you happy for instance.
him: Buying a house for my mom.
me: what else?
him: Playing guitar.
me: Why don’t you try to make money by playing guitar, you dont need to wait 20 years to be happy.
him: you are naive.
I think it is sad that our society is crushing such young minds into thinking they have no other choice than giving up their dream to be happy.
Life is about being happy, but makes us happy?
Having our needs fulfilled from the bottom of Maslow Pyramide to the top.
Truth is when you fulfill one level of need consistently, you are happy..only for a certain while. Then you need to fulfill the next step in order to reach the next level of happiness.
Or you can learn to be satisfied and grateful for what you already have and not ask for more (ex: buddhist monk).
Most people just have physiological, safety and belonging needs fulfill and are happy their whole life.
When it comes to physiological needs, you have different way to fulfill them, do what you are passionated about but earn probably just the strick minimum. But again, who cares? Because you are happy in the process
Or you can listen to our consumerist society and believe earning just the minimum is not enough, because you need the Nike shoes, the Luis Vutton bags and the iPhone 4. Then you sacrifice your day to day happiness for conusmerism happiness (see: Hong Kong, the heaven of consumerism!). This is fine too, who am I to judge what kind of happiness feat you better?
My own Happiness
I felt I was so unhappy last year, but couldn’t understand why.
Physiological need – ok.
Security need – ok.
Belonging – ok I guess
Esteem, Self actualization – not so ok.
The worst when you feel unhappy is to not know WHY you are unhappy. Then you start feeling guilty of being unhappy, you think about people in war country, people who don’t have food everyday and you think: “Carole you suck, you are so blessed, why can’t you just be normal and happy???”
I thought maybe it is because I’ve been single for a long time. My boss told me to find a bf (yes they do that in China), my colleagues, my parents all told me that it was probably the reason why I was depressed.
But I understood later it was just because I felt lonely. Loneliness has several different aspects. You can be surrounded by people who love you and that you love and still feel lonely. You can be married and sleep in a shared bed every nigth and still feel lonely (beginning of Eat Pray Love movie). I think this feeling is worse than being single.
Loneliness is not sharing your fears. When you share them you realize you are not alone after all.
My first step of feeling better last year was to find someone I could trust and rely on among my friends, tell her everything and spend sometimes with her, not worrying about the future. And it work for the first step.
My second step was to face my fear (at that time fear of failure professional) and to accept that trying and failing was better than remaining in this tetanized state of helplessness.
Once I accepted the possibility of failure, I felt better instantly.
Making your friends multidimensional
It is hard in nowaday fast-paced society and big city to know who are the friends who will be there for you and you can talk to. It seems that our daily interaction is about uni-dimensional give-and-take (I really start thinking about multi-dimensional friednship last year after a comment on this blog), and when you suddely don’t have anyting to give.. who are the one you can still take from?
Also even when you knwo your friend on enough different levels to know they can help you if:
- you need money
- you need to talk to someone
- you need to share your worries about your work…
Anytime you want to add a new dimension to your friendship (maybe this friend can also give me relationship advices?) you take the risk to realize you are not compatible on this topic. You take the risk to open up, be vulnerable and the other person do not get you. It is very scary.
Hahns about loneliness
Later I shared this feeling with my long-time lost friend Hahns, and that all this time I missed him because there is many deep level thinking I feel only him will get. Effectivelly he got me immediately and even had a re-insuring answer to this fear. He shared with me a very interesting vision of the world:
[...] and on ur point of loneliness…
i like to use the example of being on the same bus together, on the same road, going the same way…
your friends are “with” u in this sense, but really u have ur own seat and perspective that no one else can share with u…
at any given moment in time, ur eyes are focused on something out the window…
not everyone is looking at what ur looking at, and even those who are will not have the same angle or find it as profound…
this really is what makes us unique individuals… so we are thankful…
but we are at times left feeling like we can’t share the wonders of the trip fully with the ppl we care about…
that’s really what loneliness is… and it’s not such a terrible thing when u stop to think about it…
at least we have the hope that at some point during the long and strange trip, u’ll have the opportunity to share with ur friends the things u saw…
and when u hear from them about the things that u missed, u appreciate that the trade-off to “loneliness” is a broader vision of life’s road and its wonders…
and so u realize u really weren’t alone after all~[...]
I realized I haven’t mentionned the above picture “Connections, loves and Love” at all, but it ispeak for itself and I will publish a follow-up post soon.
Rather leave you with this reflexion on loneliness