Everyone doesn’t need the same amount of quiet time, social engagement, money, simplicity, laughs, seriousness, work hours, vacation time, attention, affection, sleep, downtime, exercise, entertainment, stimulation, contemplation, etc.
What you find relaxing is stressful to someone else. What you find stressful, is like a vacation to another person. What you think is cool, is completely boring to several people in your own family. What you think is boring, is fascinating to someone who has no idea why you don’t get it. And your sense of humor is completely annoying to at least one hundred people no matter who you are.
When you stereotype happiness as something that has to look, smell, sound, or act a certain way, you’re only limiting your own options.
Happiness is not the result of blindly following bumper sticker slogans and other noble-sounding platitudes. True fulfillment is the by-product of each individual discovering and working in harmony with the laws of his own being.
Everyone must find out what ACTUALLY works for him as opposed to what conventional wisdom says OUGHT to work for him.
Consider the following maxim: “He who dies with the most friends wins!”
A universally applicable dose of wisdom, right?
Maybe! Maybe not!
If you love social engagement and thrive off of interaction with others, then this is your proverb to live by. But there are other perspectives too.
History is filled with stories of Monks and Nuns who lived mostly in solitude but reported living very joyful lives. In spite of the fact that they took vows of silence and lived in very small communities with few “festive” activities, they experienced immeasurable joy because of their faith that their quiet prayers and private acts of charity were contributing to the good of the planet. Although many people would describe their lives as boring, the people who actually lived those lives never saw it that way.
It can be difficult for us to accept that someone else could find joy doing the very things we may despise or detest, but eventually we must all come around to acknowledging that we live in a diverse universe and that there are as many ways to be happy as there are people.
I’ve learned to let people be who they are. My happiness is my business, your happiness is your business, and their happiness is their business.
One reward of this is that I rarely feel bothered by people who “talk too much, joke around too much, never hang out enough, etc.” The greatest reward, however, is that I feel completely free to be me.
When we don’t hold people hostage to OUR personal definition of the good life, we are less inclined to feel threatened, insulted, or negatively influenced when others attempt to make us pursue happiness in THEIR way.
That is a recipe for stress-free living,
At least that’s the way I see it,