To the Happy People – Self Satisfying Vacuous Sound-Bites Are No Stand In For Reality.

Here is a list of things that the Happy people claim they are doing right and that the rest of us are doing wrong. The happy people have compiled this list of sound bites to educate the rest of us in their spiritual wisdom.

Herein, I will attempt to discuss their sound-bites and perhaps inject some reality into the discussion. I will also address the Happy people directly in the document by referring to them as ‘Happy people’. BD

The  link to the original article can be found at: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10387/25-things-happy-people-do-differently.html

But: without further ado: Ladies, gentlemen and transgendered guests – I give you: The Happy People and my commentaries upon:

25 Things Happy People Do Differently

 

“Because you unhappy people are just doing it wrong, we happy people, we’ve figured it out, we know what’s going on – you need to understand, you’re unhappy because you are wrong.”

1.       Stop worrying, if it supposed to happen it will. 

‘Supposed ‘to happen. The implication is that if it’s ‘meant’ to be then it will happen. Grand plan, divine hands, or the Alcoholics Anonymous screed that you have to ‘surrender yourself to a higher power’ because you can’t make it happen, it will only happen if its ‘meant’ to. So let’s just trust to fate, the bonus is that if it doesn’t happen, you can make yourself feel better by saying that it wasn’t ‘meant’ to happen and so you’re free of responsibility, it wasn’t your fault and there is nothing you could have done.  Bollocks Happy People. Here is the cold hard truth:  there is no guiding hand; you are the hand that guides. Worrying too much is unhelpful, but a little bit of worry is useful, you get things done, you anticipate possibilities and plan for them and you go the extra mile to make sure that what you meant to happen will happen.

2.       Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.

To use the much abused phrase: ‘Check your privilege’ here Happy people. Some people do, usually those who inherit their excellence. Some people also start off beautiful, wealthy, gifted, culturally valued, etc etc etc …so they get a foot in the door as well.  The wise understand that you must be a beginner to be a master, and try not to content themselves with mediocrity. But let’s be honest, some people start at a higher level of ‘excellence’ because they are privileged. I think you have to be privileged to think that no one starts off with advantages.

3.       Don’t let your happiness depend on anything outside of yourself.

Sage advice for the most part, especially for the rampant individualist. Your happiness can very much be twisted by things outside yourself. These things you cannot control –  To a certain point you can control your reactions, but If for example your spouse of 10 years in whom you have invested much of yourself decides to cheat on you, screw you over and then sue for half your possessions –  you’re happiness is very much going to depend on things outside yourself. This ‘self help inner positivity’’ bullshit that is so rampant today drives me up the wall. Yes, do the best you can to make yourself happy, but come on: sometimes bad shit happens to good people. Human beings are sociable animals, very often your happiness is going to depend on people around you – and sometimes, you might just need to depend on something or someone for your happiness because you are too tired, broken or even mentally unwell to do it yourself.

4.       Stay close to everything that makes you feel alive.

Except by necessity, by duty, obligation, loyalty or love there will be things in your life that make you feel less than alive and you’ll still need to stick by these things. This is classic sound bite wisdom, sounds great and easy until you apply reality. Better advice would be to ‘do things that make you feel alive’ when you can from time to time.

5.       Listen to your body; it will lead you to unlimited health. 

Bullshit. My body craves sugar, carbohydrates and, especially after a bad day; alcohol. Your body can also crave nicotine, sleep at inappropriate times and sex with someone you probably shouldn’t have sex with. As you age, you will start to have random aches and pains that just occur for no reason; listen to every one of them and you’ll become a hypochondriac. Be sensible of course, be aware, but this gem from the ‘happy people’ is just pure silliness.

6.       Surround yourself with people who see your greatness.

This is up there with the greatly stupid. Better advice would be ‘surround yourself with people who are genuine and real’. Sure, you may be ‘great’ and its nice to have that validated, but sometimes you will be less than great or you will just simply suck at something –  real people will tell you this and still love you. You can trust them because of this. Wankers convinced of their own self importance surround themselves with sycophants, give me a friend who knows me for my greatness but will also call me out on my crap.

 7.       Make peace with your past.

Or if you can’t, at least try to learn from it. Sometimes there are things in a person’s past that they cannot make peace with, sometimes these things do not deserve to have peace made of them. Your present is only the sum accumulation of your past and this can be a complicated animal. I don’t disagree with the happy people here, for your own peace of mind you have to accept that you cannot change your past, but sometimes you cannot sit well with it either.

8.       See all setbacks as growth and expansive opportunities.

Yes, because nothing says ‘wisdom’ more than banging your head on the wall of a hopeless case. Not every setback is an opportunity or will lead to growth. Some setbacks are exactly that, setbacks, you might want to achieve something and the setback showed you that ‘you can’t’. Not all growth is positive, some growth is negative and there may not be much optimism to find in those circumstances. Naive positive thinking may well prevent you from seeing that the setback is an indicator that you should just get the hell out. When you hit setbacks you have to realize that they happen, and all you can do is decide how to maneuver around it, through it or away from it.

9.      Comparing yourself to others will hurt your health and steal your joy.

Except that’s what the happy people are asking the rest of us to do with this stupid list. Ok, sure, don’t use other people’s standards as your own, but sometimes comparing yourself to others can give you a bit of ambition, hope and inspiration.  And really, isn’t that what you’re wanting us to do here happy people? You prove my point.

10. Don’t give up, EVER.

Yes, because flogging a dead horse is always a good idea. Sometimes you need to know when to give up, when to quit, let go and get out. This can lead to actual experience, growth and wisdom.

 11.        You always have a choice.

Do you? Really?  Sometimes you don’t, sometimes you have obligations, Ok… sure, you can choose not to live up to them, but then, that might mean you’re an asshole. Sometimes also, the only choices you have are bad ones.

12.      Stop chasing what’s not working.

Come on, did you guys even read your own list? What happened to ‘Never give up, EVER’?

13.     Believe wholeheartedly in miracles.

No, just.. no. Give me well founded plans, evidence and sometimes, just old fashioned good luck. No amount of belief makes something a fact. Self delusion is probably the worst form of denial.

14.       Don’t postpone joy.

Ever heard of delayed gratification? Sometimes it’s not a good idea to indulge in everything joyous right then and there, and in fact, sometimes postponing it makes it all the more joyous.

15.       Trust the universe, there is a plan greater than yours.

Urghhh, prove it, show me the plan and then show me the planner. You can’t, you’re just talking out of your ass.  This is pure superstitious nonsense, there is no captain at the helm, we each captain our own ship and we navigate it as best we can.  Moreover you’re just rehashing the whole ‘if its supposed to happen it will’ argument you made in point 1 so see my comments there.

16.         Wake up every morning with a grateful heart.

Tell that to the majority of modern day folks who work a job they don’t like to meet obligations which force them to postpone their joy. I am grateful to be alive, but sometimes oh wise Happy people, through no fault of their own people have difficult lives that make boundless gratitude pretty hard to maintain. 

 17.           Remember things take time.

Except joy, apparently, this must not be postponed. Look Happy People, things do take time, but sometimes in life you don’t have time, sometimes, you need to act now.

 18.         Always trust your gut.

Even despite evidence? Gut instincts are sometimes a good thing, but you can’t live your life that way –  sometimes your instincts need to be expanded on with evidence. Moreover, sometimes your gut instincts are just plain wrong: ever met anyone your gut told you that you didn’t like but then later found out, after a bit of open-mindedness, that they were actually all right?

 19.          No need to change people; just love them for who they are. 

So why did you make this bloody list? Just to bask in your own smug?. Seriously Happy people, have you ever visited a planet called earth? Sometimes we need to change people because the consequences of not changing them may be dire for themselves or for people around them. I want to be loved for who I am, but I’ve had people in my life who have changed me, and done so deliberately because they saw something in me that was hurting me and needed to change, and they loved me enough to try.

20.           Don’t resist change.

You know at least half of the voting population are conservative right? Resistant to change almost by definition right? I’m sure some of them are happy.  Ok, some changes should not and indeed cannot be resisted, change is a constant. But not all change is good and sometimes we need to be able to critically weigh up the pros and cons of specific changes to know whether they are worth resisting or not.

21.     Forgive yourself.

Where possible –  but sometimes you need the forgiveness of others before you can forgive yourself.

22.         Your life is a creative adventure.

Now on this one, I agree with you. But i’m a white guy from a privileged background so I have the luxury of thinking this way. However there are literally billions of people on this planet who do not have the luxury of thinking this way. Their lives are struggle, endurance and pain –  that they endure these things is amazing to me and those that manage to still find joy in those seas of misery are by far more inspirational than you are Happy people. I for one will not patronize these people however by calling their lives a ‘creative adventure’.

 23.         Release expectations and enjoy the journey, there is no destination.

Ok, nice advise, but we do set goals do we not? Sometimes there are destinations and the reward is not so much the journey but reaching its end.

24.         Just do you.

Nah, I live in a community, with friends, relatives, you know.. other human beings? I like helping people where I can, sometimes it’s nice not to just do me, but to ‘do’ other people, helping people can be really rewarding. Sometimes, its nice not to just think about myself.

25.        You’re not broken or damaged. You are perfect just the way you are. 

 No im not, there is always room for improvement…  and Happy People, I’m beginning to think there are some seriously sociopathic tendencies running through your list. I’m not perfect, I will never be perfect but I will strive to be the best I can be at any given time. More to the point, I personally  was damaged, medication helped fix me. I also had some pretty bad modes of behavior that were not only damaging to me, but to other people around me. If I had followed your advice here I might not be an unhappy person, but I would be an asshole.

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~ by benephobia on October 30, 2013.

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