I watch so many positive psychology lectures that I am starting to think I will soon be awoken and given my monks robes. I am NOT shaving my head though so they can bugger off. 😉
Joking aside, I really enjoy learning about this relatively new and emerging new area of psychology that studies the actual science behind being kind and being happy. If you watched the video that I posted with Brene Brown in it a few weeks ago, she is the first to admit that she NEVER thought any of this stuff could be scientific… but it is.
I watched a documentary today called “Happy”. If you have Netflix, it is worth watching.
I took a lot from the movie but the information that really struck me the most is how happiness is not often found within ourselves. It is most often found in giving to others and being a useful part of a community.
There were many examples of people who have less to live on in a year than we would use in a weekend yet oftentimes these people can be even more happy than we are. One man in India has his family living in a home made of boards, cardboard, sticks and plastic with one side totally exposed yet he showed the house off as though it was his castle and his comment about the open side? “It lets a lovely breeze in and keeps his house cool.” His children wore rags and the food they ate that evening for supper was a shared pan of rice yet they were all smiles and laughter. He also showed off his wonderful community and felt blessed by the people he called his friends. It was very obvious that related or not, they were a community and spent a lot of time with each other either working or playing.
Another point made in this movie was about the science of happiness and how doing regular acts of kindness can be more powerful than the strongest antidepressants. The most important thing to realize that these acts of kindness need not be very big. Getting someone a glass of water whom can not get one for themselves, putting some change in a parking meter when you see it has run low and the person is no where to be seen, putting a dollar in to a jar at some restaurant for food for the homeless, some places even let you buy a slice of pizza or another item and when someone who can not afford it comes in, they get the slice you paid for. Genius! I think the most important thing is just realizing that giving to others need not be huge or inspirational to affect us in great way while we also touch others in a meaningful way.
Happiness. Two for the price of one. The original BOGO sale!
Loving kindness meditations were also part of this movie.
I will admit that I found it very simple to think of myself and then a friend or family member and in turn, wish peace, love, happiness and forgiveness but when asked to do that for someone I have issues with? I froze up. Why on earth would I want to wish some self serving idiot and of my peace, love or forgiveness. It’s easier to just hate them or dislike them. Right?
Well… I eventually learned after almost 3 years of doing these short meditations that when thinking of someone who hurt me and wishing them well? I am actually helping myself far ore than I am helping them. It is not even really for them. It is for me to let go of that inner anger that I feel towards them that boils my blood but rarely boils theirs. It is about letting that anger towards them leave you for your own sake. There is also that slim chance that your compassion will have a good effect on them but I am not touting the success of that one just yet.
My wish for myself and my wish for you is the same.
I wish you love. I wish you peace. I wish you happiness.