Are we trying too hard to be happy?
I’ve been watching Hardtalk. A BBC program that does in-depth interviews, with prominent people from around the World. These people often have a particular viewpoint, and the interviewer tries to enlighten us about a given subject through hard-hitting and hopefully unbiased questions. This program is transmitted on all the BBC platforms, including the World Service so that everyone can watch.
The episode I’ve just watched was Stephen Sackur talking to the American psychologist, Professor Laurie Santos; Yale. Her work is on the science of happiness, and she has millions of followers around the World.
Much of what was said is not new. People looking for Happiness, it seems the obvious thing to do. I can remember the days of the Hippies with Peace and Love! Indeed I’m sure this is something we all would like. Why is it then that this search for Happiness is a growing trend? We seem to have more ways to be happy, mindful and content than ever before, but we hear that more people commit suicide than ever. We live in a society that has more than ever before and wants for nothing.
A conflicting statistic I’ve heard many times and one that gives me concern when thinking about those looking for happiness; more psychiatrists commit suicide than in any other profession?
Apparently, it is the happiness idea that could be the problem. Being happy all the time just doesn’t work. This continual state of wellbeing is impossible.
We hear that dark times give us light times, but I’ve always had a problem with this notion. Why do we have to have dark times? Is it just the word dark that generates this notion that it is terrible?
When we think of dark and light, we may only see two extremes, where in reality, the World is made up of mainly greys, and true black and white is a rare thing.
You can see where this idea, when used in the context of Happiness is a failure. There isn’t only the extremes of either being happy or sad, light or dark, good or bad, but a more generous array of variables in between.
If you then appreciate that we live our lives predominantly in the middle of those extremes, you see that we are more likely to drift between the two, depending on our day, and although rarely visit those extremes we can be happy and content.
These shades, tones, values whatever you prefer to call them, of dark and light of life, give us life. When you look at a painting, you see all the tones, and this provides that picture with its dimension, it brings it to life. When you hear a song, it is the complexity and variety of the whole thing that makes it shine. These variabilities are endless, and that is why new and exciting music and pictures are always being produced. This is a very positive concept to hold.
The variabilities of life for every individual are endless. It is not just a case of this or that! Happy or Sad. Black or White. Good or Bad.
I’m always surprised by our obsession with money and wealth. It can’t be just a matter of I’ve got it or not. For most, it is just about having enough that you don’t have to worry about money. Does having so much money that you can’t spend it and just let it sit there in a bank, doing no good for anyone, or helping towards any form of happiness in the world, do any good? What a waste!
I think extremes in life are the cause of many of the issues we hear about every day; Religion, Wealth, Health, Race and the list goes on.
It seems that if we stop looking for the extremes, which are just so extreme, then our lives become more about living. The tones of life are abundant and will easily provide us all with complete, satisfying and emotionally charged life that will give us all the happiness we will ever need.
When I was a lad, we had a black and white telly. Although called black and white, the images were a fantastic array of all the grey values you could think off. This was just amazing, and I thought, when we had our first TV, nothing could top this! I saw the world as a greyscale of life.
Then colour TV came along!
Often people seem to get by within the greyscale of life, but maybe miss the magic of adding a bit of colour to it!
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