There are three concepts I'm sort of struggling with at the moment. And, in my opinion, they're all interrelated in a way. Control, which I've discussed before, keeps coming back and I see that as tied into happiness. But, I also think balance factors into the two, as well. Yes, I know, I'm being sort of vague and unclear. But, one thing that occurred to me today is that it's difficult to let go of the idea that we have control in the lives of those we care about. I don't mean in a dictatorial way but, rather, in a way that enables us to help them see potential mistakes and avoid them or to learn from our mistakes and remove themselves from bad situations. I do think that wanting what's best for those we care about, wanting to see them be happy and avoid as much pain as they can is a valid desire. It's just difficult to balance that (see how I worked that in?) with the knowledge that part of life is making those mistakes and learning from them. Balancing the need or desire to shield those we love from life's cruelties and the resulting pain with the recognition that everyone has to have a certain amount of hurt in their lives to be human and live fully is extremely difficult for me. It makes me put my foot in my mouth a lot, it seems, even when all I really want is to be supportive and understanding. I just hate so much seeing my friends hurt.
And, how, you might be wondering does all this discussion of pain and suffering and control connect with the idea of happiness? Well, I can actually be much briefer on that topic. I've been thinking lately that we humans (particularly Americans) have an image of a happy life as being one that contains more ecstatic moments than calm or quiet ones. And, while I think those bursts of joy are wonderful and important in life-they're just not all there is to a happy existence. Sometimes, as with so many things, satisfaction is the more valid marker of real, lasting, happiness. It's not flashy and attention-getting and, lots of times, people mistake it for complacency or stagnation or boredom but, those times when things are level (neither overwhelmingly good or bad) are the times when more creating occurs, when more ideas take shape, etc. We need those times just as much as the highs of sheer joy. So, I guess what I'm getting at is that this idea of happiness as a pinnacle, a height that must be so intensely felt, well, I think that's kind of crap. I think most of us lead lives that can be aptly called happy ones whether we have everything we want or not, whether we thrill at the thought of getting out and facing another day or not.