I have my moments with happiness. No, I am not referring to the moments of that emotional state, rather I’m referring to my emotion about the emotion. Oh yes, we are about to get that complicated.
I’d love to be happy, as much as possible. C’mon, who the hey wouldn’t? But I don’t think I believe that is the way we are designed to be, or that 100% happiness 24/7 would be best for us. Last year I read a fantastic book entitled “Shadows of the Heart: the Spirituality about Negative Emotions” written by the Whiteheads, a husband and wife/theologian and psychologist team. Negative has a purpose. Even negative emotions.
Ironically, the pursuit of happiness can often lead us to the negative emotions! I’ve long loved the quote attributed to John Stuart Mill, “ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so”. Even when you try to pursue happiness, and ask yourself if you are, you just might run into those pesky little negatives.
Happiness is an obsession that our culture thrives on. As this article states, however, our constant desire to buy, obtain, own, or have more, does not provide us with the happiness the commericals promise! In fact, there is a great deal of proof that simplicity works, as well as restoring the human connection, by such things as a localized economy, because you get to know people versus just the products the sell.
I just had a similar experience. Tonight I joined my local credit union, and I’m silly giddy about it! I enjoyed the process of talking about money, about the great new rates I was getting, the options, and the swift service, walking out with card in hand, knowing my assets were safe. But that wasn’t it. I enjoyed sharing recipes with my member manager, talking about technology woes, and what we were going to do when we got home, too. Each person was so warm and friendly, wanting to know me, not just have my business. The best part- I left feeling like I was a part of something good, and larger than my self. My credit union has a great presence in our area and really educates people on financial choices. I left not feeling like I just completed an errand, but I was now a member of that community.
An economy that makes us happy is one that is connected, caring, wholesome, and functional. This may not be the solution for everyone, but ain’t it worth a shot?