I see people all the time who tell me they aren’t happy. This is even more prevalent since all the confinement due to the virus.
People are unhappy with their marriages. They are married to partners who are themselves self- absorbed or restless or overly involved with the children.
When partners say that they just aren’t happy, I ask what they are doing to contribute to the happiness of those around them.
It is with a very different perspective that I view the world. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but, rather, what you can do for your country.” -John F. Kennedy
Way back in the 60’s, glorified by 1970, people have tried to find happiness by running off and doing as they pleased.
As Bea Arthur said in Lovers and Other Strangers to her son Richie who was getting a divorce, “don’t go looking for happiness, Richie. It will only bring you misery. «
Before children, people can do as they choose. It may not make them happy but it isn’t the same as breaking up a family when there are children. Children may survive divorce but they don’t recover. Thus, children of divorce learn no one loves anyone enough to stay. They may look fine until dating age. Then they tend to show us a reluctance to be all the way into a relationship. They keep one foot out to avoid a repeat of what the parents did. They want to avoid the hurt; they want to be happy. They don’t find happiness making their partners miserable.
Recently, I met a couple in their thirties. She has had an emotional affair. « How did this happen », I asked. They both said that she thought the grass was always greener—there might be something better out there. They both agreed that this is her problem.
The husband is a warm guy. He keeps asking what he can do. He wants closeness. She cheats to avoid intimacy. It’s almost a role reversal as more often men cheat to avoid intimacy and when they don’t feel good enough. Angry women cheat. They are a much more difficult population than the men.
This woman grew up doing as she pleases. She made good grades, appeared to stay out of trouble (which she didn’t- just didn’t get caught) and in return the parents left her alone. She has a lifetime of doing as she pleases—she is definitely NOT happy-
You can’t find happiness doing as you want.
Happiness comes from doing the right thing. That means telling the truth, honoring your commitments, and being a contributor as well as a consumer. We get joy from watching what we do bring joy to others.
It is very important to know what we feel so we don’t act on it! Following feeling can get us into lots of trouble. Think what would happen if we all did as we felt like doing in rush hour.
I think about how I feel. I think about what I want to happen. Then I do what works to get there!
When people see me who are depressed, the first thing I ask is what they are doing that they feel bad about. There is always something. People who drink excessively, overeat, carry secrets, think they are victimized- these are people who feel better when they change the habit(s) they see as bad. You cannot ever find happiness by avoiding responsibility or by doing things that shame you.
So, no— doing as we feel cannot bring us happiness. It will only make us miserable!