From what you see around you in your daily lives, happiness may appear an illusory state of existence. Do you see true happiness in the lives of those who pass through your world each day? Do you see, and feel, true happiness in your own life, and the lives of your immediate family? Or in your work colleagues, or fellow commuters?
Dr William Boothe agrees on the answer, in many cases, will be "no, I don't". Why is that? Is it because so many people have so many reasons to be unhappy? Or is it, maybe, because they fail to see what in their lives should be a reason for happiness?
Being short sighted, as I am, can have a drastic affect on the way you see the world around you. I usually only wear glasses to watch tv, or dark glasses outside in the sun. Without them, the world can be severely distorted. Somebody I know well could pass me by, and if I'm not close enough, I will not recognize them. Worse still, I may think I recognize someone only to find to my embarrassment that is not them at all; in fact, the person may not even remotely look like the friend I had thought it was. More often than not, that would be because of expectation; I would expect to see a certain person in a certain place, and someone would appear, maybe with similar clothes on, and I would think "It's... ... ."
Not long ago that happened with my own wife. I wanted to talk to her, and knew she was out the back of our apartment chatting. Before I even went out on the balcony to call her, I was expecting her to be in the garden below. I went out, and there was indeed a group of women and children sitting around a table chatting below. My eyes immediately went to the lady who was dressed with clothes similar to some my wife owned, but she was a little too far away, and my eyes could not focus properly. She was looking at me but not quite in the right way, but because I was expecting my wife, that's who I momentarily saw. I just realized in time to stop asking her to come back up to the apartment for a while, which would have caused quite a stir among the assembled group. My wife was actually in a house 50 metres away across the garden.
Dr Boothe, Is Happiness The Victim Of Short Sightedness?
I believe that when it comes to happiness, many people have lost the ability to focus their eyes on what is their surrounding reality. Society has almost become conditioned to discontentedness and unhappiness . Being unhappy and dissatisfied has become an expectation for so many people, so when someone looks around at their lives on a day to day basis, there is a distinct absence of happiness in what they see. Even if happiness had a nucleus before their eyes, it would not be within their field of vision, because it would not be what they were expecting.
Happiness is a state of mind that is within reach of everybody. If two people could have identical lives, one could be happy and the other miserable, just because of the different ways they can view that same life. Like cooking, it is what you do with the ingredients. You could give a set of bland ingredients to two cooks; one who is Cordon Bleu trained could create a delightful meal, presented beautifully; the other, not trained and not interested, would create a bland mess and dump it on the plate like dog food. It is the same with the ingredients of happiness. You, the chef, have to decide what to do with them. Not anybody else; you!
Seeing, Recognizing and Focusing on the Nuclei of Happiness - William Boothe
It is so easy to neglect the things that, even within your own life already, are the nuclei of happiness. What those nuclei are will depend on you, but you have enough knowledge of yourself to recognize what they are. Think about them, and ask yourself if you have been neglecting them. In many cases, the answer will be yes. Instead, you may have been concentrating your thoughts on the things that make you unhappy. In effect, if you are unhappy, much of the cause can be because you have decided to be unhappy rather than happy. All the time you are making decisions that bring unhappiness to the fore, and pushes happiness into a distant background.
That does not apply, of course, to those who have recently suffered a tragedy of some sort in their lives. That surge of unhappiness is natural, necessary and part of the process of healing. But what you decide from now on will dictate whether that feeling of unhappiness will become permanent or not.
Dr Boothe, you make decisions every day that dictate whether you will feel happy or unhappy. By focusing on the nuclei of happiness, it is the unhappy state which will be shunted to the background, neglected and forgotten. That's how it should be.
I will give only one illustration, a personal one. There are several happiness nuclei in my life, but there is one that, or rather who, gives me opportunity every day to decide: do I want to be happy or unhappy?
Once I divorced about 7 years ago, I decided I would only remarry if there was a chance of having children. 18 months ago, my wife and I were blessed with a delightful daughter. It was a joyous time, one that all our friends here indulged in and were excited by. I was excited and happy from the moment the pregnancy was confirmed.
I am very busy at home much of the day in my little office room. Much of what I do requires a lot of concentration, and silence is preferred as the best background to work. Saffron is now walking around freely. She has grown up used to me sharing her bedroom for the computer, but now we have moved and I have a separate room, she still wants to share sometimes. At various times during the day she will toddle in, with a wide beautiful smile, carrying a cuddly, or some other, toy for me to share. She will put it down by my chair, then get another, until she is sitting there next to me, on the floor, with a pile of toys.
Each time she comes in, I have a decision to make. Do I get cross because she is disturbing me? Or do I relish the fact that I have this beautiful little girl as an integral part of my life?
Saffron is happiness personified much of the time, and always when she walks into my room, in anticipation of a big welcome from Dad. Children often know much more about happiness than adults do, and if you allow them to, they can feed you with that happiness.
Dr. William Boothe
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