The Fallacy of Seeking Ones Own Happiness Being A Selfish Act
This new frontier is such an interesting journey. There are so many common beliefs that are based on false assumptions to overcome. Society has been teaching humans misinformation about happiness for generations. It explains a lot about how things have gotten so bad for so many.
One of the most common fallacies I encounter is the perception that seeking ones own happiness is selfish.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A happy Mother would never abuse her child. Only unhappy ones ever do.
A happy husband would never abuse his wife. Only an unhappy one would and whether or not he is happy is his issue; no one can make another person happy.
A happy person would not go on a killing spree. Only deeply unhappy people do that.
When an individual is happy there are many benefits that extend to their family, friend, employer and community.
If a scale weighed the individual benefits of happiness against the benefits that individual’s happiness gives to their family, friends, co-workers and community it would be self evident that ones own happiness was not a selfish act.
I am not referring to the transitory happiness that one achieves based on external circumstances. The happiness I refer to is a deep sense of inner stability, well-being, peace and vitality that is consistent and easy to return to when life tosses an obstacle in ones path.
That sort of happiness brings many benefits. Here is a statement students in our programs can read to help them realize that making their own happiness a priority is far from a selfish act.
When I am happy I am at my best. I am in the best health. I am in the best mood. I am able to think with greater clarity. I am able to see solutions to problems far more readily. I need less from others (pumping up, assistance of all types, etc.). I have better relationships. I am more resilient. I have more energy. I contribute more by being happy so being happy is a priority for me. When I am happy I contribute to others by inspiring them to happiness. I contribute to others because when I feel great I want to help others feel just as wonderful. Sometimes, when someone feels rotten it makes them feel better to see someone else feel rotten too or see someone who is even worse off then they are. When I am happy it lifts me even higher to help others up and I gain no happiness or relief from their not being in a good place. Minding my own happiness is minding my health because when I am happy I will be inclined to make good decisions about my diet, exercise and other habits. Happiness reduces the stress on my body and enables it to more easily maintain or regain its health. My immune system functions better when I am happy. My happiness is good for me and good for the world.
Another common fallacy is that an individual can make another one happy. If you have ever attempted to cheer up someone who had decided they were going to be miserable you know that until the person decided they want to be happy nothing anyone else can do will make a significant difference. Others can certainly contribute greatly to our happiness by providing positive things to focus on but we always have the ability to focus on less pleasing things no matter how pleasing they are being.
There are specific skills and a base of knowledge that can help anyone increase their level of happiness and increase their potential to thrive.