But then, there's the Sadist and the Masochist who got married. On their wedding night, the Masochist said, "Hurt me!" The Sadist said, "Unh-uh."
In my opinion, and experience, in the effort of making someone happy your
usually are in the process/effort of making yourself happy. The problem with
this action is humans are volatile and our needs are often misunderstood and
often fall short or completely miss the mark. The reaction of the subject will
either make you happy or sad. This is determined by your envisioned response
from your subject and does his/hers reactions match your expectations you
bestowed upon them. Now, these sequence of events can have little if any
affects to your current state of happiness/sadness, or, go beyond the extreme.
The key is to limit your expectations of your subject and realize they are
They way to be happy is much more complicated than one statement. Below are some thoughts.
Contributors to happiness:
- Physical security, economic security, food security, health.
- Family, friends and community levels of happiness, involvement and support. (Happiness is contagious).
- You're own perception of your life. Are you chronically dissatisfied with your life? Or are you more balanced in your satisfaction/dissatisfaction?
Of course - what is happiness?
I see pleasure as short-term and happiness as long-term.
Perhaps "happiness" has two components: circumstances and attitude/perception.
It's interesting that here, attitude gets seen as synonymous with perception.
That's an interesting article. I have also found that other emotional states can spread within a network of susceptible people. A susceptible person will be start up in sympathy, but non-susceptible people will not. I guess it all depends on a person's psychological make-up.
On a less frightening note, here is an article in Psychology Today, "Compassion Begets Compassion".
I think that doing things that may allow others to make themselves happy is one way of allowing ourselves to be happy. I also think happiness happens in the present moment and nowhere else, and it is necessarily fleeting. I have had happy moments in the midst of tragedy,
"doing things that may allow others to make themselves happy"
This seems to be the most important part of the picture.
Hardly. The statement "The Way to Be Happy is to Make Others Happy" implies that our own happiness is contingent on other people. "The way" connotates that it is the only way to happiness. Saying a way to happiness would be more correct, but even then it really only applies to people you care about. If your welfare isn't already tied up in the person you are affecting (for instance a spouse or family), then you aren't likely to empathize with the individual as much. Making someone you don't know happy will will have less of an effect.
Say that I bought a tank of propane gas for a poor family for their RV that they were living in because they were homeless. It made that family very happy. Was I happy because I made them happy? No. I felt better about myself because I thought I did something good.
Now, if I did something nice for someone I didn't like, someone who was a complete tool, and it made that person happy, would I feel happy because that person is happy? Probably not. I might be happier because I could then consider myself to be a better person than the offending tool-bag, but my happiness would not be contingent on that of the person I didn't like. Essentially, correlation =/= causation.
Also being an introvert, I'm generally happier when not around other people. Happiness, I've found, comes from within and is independent of others.
My feeling exactly.
"I felt better about myself because I thought I did something good."
And that's a good thing, right?
Maybe. Depends on whether or not you consider feeling good about yourself and increasing that feeling to be good. Building your own self-esteem is a selfish action. Anyone who considers altruism to be a basis for what is good or bad in a moral sense will probably not consider actions that benefit oneself to be as exemplary as actions that would only benefit someone else. Is it good in the sense of it being beneficial? Certainly, in my opinion.
Whether it is good or not, any happiness that is derived from that action in my situation doesn't come from the effect my action had on someone else, but comes from the effect my actions have on myself.
"Happiness, I've found, comes from within and is independent of others."
I think that's it in a nutshell. But there are different levels and types of happiness, and that's just one of many, albeit the necessary basis for all the others, in my opinion.