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Happiness . . . Check It Out March 5, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
10 comments

Some people are so focused on what others think about them that they become prisoners to public opinion.

Case in point:  My friend . . . um, let’s call her “Ethel.”   

Ethel is an eternal pessimist, an Eeyore.  She sees the glass as half empty, even if it is 98% full. 

Ethel is rarely happy with the current state of affairs.  She  looks at obstacles as insurmountable burdens, rather than as  opportunities to flex her spiritual muscles.   In short, she is a sad sack. 

To her, breaking a favorite thermos is a disaster. 

An undelivered package is a catastrophe.  

She is so focused on the occasional snag, that she misses the grand tapestry of life. 

Even when life is overwhelmingly positive, she actively looks for the tarnish. 

For example, if a DJ played 15 songs in a row that she loved, and only one that she disliked, Ethel would want to tell me about that one awful song ~ even  when prompted to talk about the other 15.

Over the years, I’ve given Ethel tips and techniques designed to remind her to stay in the moment, count her blessings, and let life unfold ~ to no avail. 

Ethel listens to everything I have to say, nods knowingly, agrees that my suggestions make perfect sense . . . and promptly allows those suggestions to evaporate into the atmosphere. 

Instead of practicing meditation, using visualization, or relaxing with positive affirmations, Ethel relies on a crutch, a cheat sheet, whenever she is feeling angry, sad, hurt, or disgruntled with life. 

Instead of picking up the remote to change the negative thoughts racing through her mind, she picks up the phone and calls me . . . to ask me to change the channel for her!  

I keep telling her that her happiness is her responsibility, not mine, but she refuses to believe me, “Nothing cheers me up as much as talking to you.”

One day, I suggested that she walk over to the library and check out some books on happiness ~ just in case my line was busy when she called.

Her response?

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“I would feel too self-conscious.”

“Ethel, I’m not asking you to check out the Kama Sutra.  Just a few books on increasing the happiness in your life.”

“No, I would worry about what the librarians thought of me.”

“Who cares what they think?”

“I do.”

“Well, why do you think they would they look at you negatively for checking out books on happiness?”

“Well, they would wonder why I needed them.”

“No, they wouldn’t.  And what if they did? ~ if they don’t want you to be as happy as you can be . . . why worry about what they think?”

Why, indeed?

Don’t be a prisoner to public opinion ~ design the life of  your dreams. 

No rules.  Just write!