Why aren’t you happy?

Getting the work out in time for the Supermoon was very tiring, however I stayed awake for 44 out of 48 hours to do it, because although I am not at all superstitious or into astrology, the theory with a lunar event is that it causes change.   Very possibly this change is entirely in your imagination, but what the hell, let’s have some of that. The icon is also based on the idea of switching polarity, and so far, it seems to be working, because I am losing my fear of self-exposure to my pre-determined and rather limited extent. (I do not intend to embarrass Wolfe by becoming a public figure) I did crawl back under my stone with some relief, however, after a couple of chaotic days ensuring that there were new items to put out in the next couple of issues of Tatler.

Many years ago I retrieved a copy of ‘I’m OK, you’re OK’ from the box room and I have to say, I found it one of the most helpful self-help titles that I have ever read.  Transactional analysis, carried to its logical extent even when dealing with your own emotions, is extremely helpful.  In recent years, however, I have noticed a flaw in the motivation market, stemming quite possibly from a misunderstanding of how the ‘I’m OK’ part really works.

You are supposed to self-examine before you decide that you are OK.  It is not sufficient to simply decide that your wish to make a billion bucks/get promoted/marry at least four times/stop speaking to people you don’t like is OK.   If you aren’t happy in the first place, no amount of weight loss, money, women/men, moving on from unfinished business is going to help.  Happiness is very much a decision that you make.  The difference in Eastern philosophy and Western is said to stem from this decision – Western philosophy, and in fact economics, stems from the premise that you spend your life seeking happiness, where Eastern stems from the premise that you are born with happiness, and your duty is to preserve and protect that happiness.

From an economic perspective, you can see why Western economies have performed better, and you can also see why you just aren’t happy. Happiness does not keep you shopping to make yourself feel better or replace all those belongings that you lost when moving on from that unfortunate person you got tired of. Many of the thoughtless masses suffer from this inbuilt sense of something missing, since they have been educated, particularly in recent years, to purchase rather than create things that make them happy.

Persuading us that we are unhappy with our appearance means that we spend money on clothing, surgery, makeup, diets etc.   Persuading us that we are unhappy with our partner can mean that we spend money on cars, houses, meeting a new partner, socialising, and changing our appearance. Can you see how this works?  Happiness is bad for the economy. Introspection is, therefore, also bad for the economy, because we cannot have people self examining to the point where their happiness means that all those lovely purchases, and all these charming new people become meaningless.

My grandmother apparently used to joke that ‘man must strive,’  an open ended but meaningful statement which covered everything from seeking work to nagging. What we should really strive for is the sense of inner contentment that we lack through the constant bombardment of reasons why our adequacy could be improved by the next new person/object/bit of gossip rather than the development of our inner self or skillset.

In my case, the very thing I was so ashamed of, having romantic feelings, is now the thing that defines me and in a huge respect develops me as a person, despite there being no positive outcome to look forward to.  Paradoxically, the thing that should make me unhappy, is now the thing I will be most known for, in my anonymous way, and despite the constant driving sense of stress, the current path leads to a better developed outcome.  This idea makes me happy.  When I compare it to the happiness of your average, thoughtless, high earning couple, destined to divorce when he spots a younger model, or she spots a sugar daddy, I wonder to myself whether I am not far luckier than they are, despite my limited, lonely and despondent life.

Why aren’t you happy?

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