Posts Tagged ‘Person’

Illusory Happiness

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment


It’s been said that, “When you look at your life, the greatest happiness [es] are family happiness [es].” One of the questions, for me, is whether that statement is true or not.

I’ve had many happy moments in my life with and without family members in attendance. I tend to focus on how one quantifies happiness.

Does extreme happiness always have to be accompanied by tears, for instance? Or, is such a deep emotion as true happiness so overpowering that expression of any kind is beyond the ability of the one experiencing it?

What about a lack of happiness? I’ve seen occasions when great sorrow, not happiness, was what took over when family arrived. Where does a person draw the line of family involvement in one’s personal happiness?

Here’s another example of relevant questions. How many degrees of happiness does a person feel and does everyone feel the same degrees of that emotion and label them the same way? I don’t think anyone has a definitive answer to either of these questions simply because each person’s emotional thermometer registers feelings differently based on personal experience.

When you realize how genuinely moved a person is to meet you, does that evoke great happiness, sweet satisfaction, or deep humility coupled with gratitude. If humility, does that constitute a portion of happiness? If you feel satisfaction only, does that mean that conceit has crept into your thermometer?

You see how complicated emotional definitions and signals are? What if you feel nothing at all except seeming boredom when someone exhibits excitement at shaking your hand and talking with you face-to-face? After all, this could be a cousin that you’ve never met before.

Does your lack of emotion mean that you really don’t want to know any more family, that you’re too important to worry about those on the fringe of the family, or that you’re just a jerk?

Or, could it mean, as it does with me, that caution and trust issues rule your actions and responses during first meetings?

Circumstances dictate our responses to events in our lives. The exact experience also contributes to those responses, as well as the circumstances immediately preceding an event.

For instance, many years ago, when I was teaching in an elementary school, I’d gone outside during recess. I needed some quiet time without children’s voices in my ears or designs on my next thought. I spent my ten minutes breathing in the scent of blooming forsythia and tulips in nearby private yards, listening to birds announcing their romantic intentions, and generally decompressing. The afternoon sun warmed my face and hands, clean air wafted past my nose, and a sense of rightness filled me.

On my way back to the classroom, a curious sensation flooded my body. I stopped walking. I closed my eyes and felt my whole body fill with blinding light from the inside. I could see it, behind my eyelids, flooding through me. Such a wave of pure joy washed over me that there were no words, no other sensations, no sound. All else in the world fell away, leaving me held within this personal lightshow.

It ended, and I nearly cried. I felt in that instant the most amazing happiness. I’ve yearned for another taste of it ever since. I wait for the day I can feel that sensation, that joy, again. Where it came from, or why it came, I have no idea. I don’t care.

I only know that that one blazing event taught me more about joy than a lifetime of other experiences. Nothing can compare to it. I wish everyone could have their own instant of pure joy that they can aspire to feel it again.



Surviving the Status Shuffle

October 22, 2011 3 comments

Whether a person has reached a new phase of an existing career or pursuing a new one, there is always a settling-in phase involved.

The person must go through at least three distinct steps during this phase.

  • Astonishment at having arrived at the new status
  • Panic at the thought of establishing new self-expectations, abilities, and reputation
  • Developing new coping mechanisms and strategic schemes for advancement within that status

The survival process can be either pleasant or not, depending upon the approach used. That approach depends largely on whether the person sought the change in career status or arrived there at someone else’s behest. The least objectionable attitude to assume, nonetheless, is one of acceptance. Stress reduction during the process is paramount. Acceptance breeds calm responses.

New Status Astonishment

If your new status was actively sought on your part, now would be a good time to show everyone that belief in yourself and your capabilities. Obviously someone believed in you or you wouldn’t be in this new position. If you didn’t seek the status, you can always bow out gracefully, without losing face. It’s entirely up to you. You answer the person or organization with a simple No Thank You, and leave it at that.

Let’s assume you’re a writer. You’ve just landed a plum assignment from a pitch you made to a glossy magazine. NOTE: You pitched it, you believed in it. Now deal with it.

The editor loved the idea and is contracting you to run with it. NOTE: You’re at this stage because you’ve learned how to market yourself, your ideas, and your talent. Accept that someone else believes in you and your potential to generate quality product to fulfill that contract.

Panic at New Responsibilities and Expectations

It doesn’t always follow that because you sought this change in status, you understood the responsibilities and expectations that go with it.

Greater belief by others in your abilities settles the mantle of responsibility for quality, punctuality, and consistency squarely on your shoulders. You might not have considered that side of the equation when seeking your elevation. There is no need to panic.

If you’ve strived in the past to provide quality and accuracy in your work, you’ve covered the first and last of those responsibilities. If you’ve set deadlines for yourself and kept them on a consistent basis, you’ve already covered that expectation as well. Panic comes with unfamiliar territory, unfamiliar needs being placed on a person’s career plate. If you took the time before to cultivate your skills to give those factors mentioned above, you’re going to be fine.

If you haven’t yet cultivated those factors, now would be a good time to start. Take it slow. No one is forcing you to be perfect with each second of the day. Take the time to get comfortable with these new expectations. Find a mentor to help you ease into this new position.

Developing Coping Mechanisms and Strategies 

Everyone learns to cope with new circumstances or perish. The best strategy may be to set yourself a work schedule according to your needs. If you work best on a loosely regulated schedule, fine, do that. If you need more structure for better self-monitoring, do that instead. You are the only one who knows what conditions work best for you. Put those in place and stick with them.

When those outside your work throw negative or jeering comments your way, smile. Turn to them and say something like, “Thank you so much. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get to live your dream, too.” Use the enthusiastic and positive intonation of sincerity and genuine interest. It does make a difference.

Why would you say something like that? Many people deride those who are living a dream and making it work. These people haven’t the courage to live their own dream or they believe their life circumstances don’t allow them to live their dream. Don’t allow their envy to displace your personal positive attitude.

Lastly, at the end of each day, count your blessings. You’ve been given a dream to live or not. You’ve been shown a path to walk or not. Only you can choose to take your blessings for a stroll down the road of possibilities. In the end it’s the effort you put forth and little else that determines every change in your personal status. Declare it and own it. You created it.

Until later, a bientot,