There is an economy of happiness. We all have to be happy, we post our happiest moments on Facebook and we buy products and services to enhance our happiness. Businesses en people make a lot of money on the promise of happiness. It is a dangerous business, I think, because although happiness is a wonderful place to be in, happiness doesn’t stay forever. Happiness is not something you can grab and put in your pocket. It is tidal; it comes and goes. And you know what? That’s okay.
It’s something I like about Buddhism (I am not pretending to be a Buddhist or know everything about it though); they accept that life has its down moments. We become ill, we loose loved ones, we disagree and fight. However, if we become more detached from our surroundings we are more able to enjoy the good moments and not let the down moments destroy us.
It is something I have been struggling with in the past years. Attachment is said to be something good, because if you love people you stick with them no matter what and you are naturally attached. When they die, you are devastated. When we talk about being detached, we often respond with: sure, we want to be detached from things. Yes, but it’s better for us (errr, me!) to be detached from people as well. Saying this will probably ignite a feeling of; then you don’t love!
It’s actually the opposite. The thing is with attachment is that you identify yourself completely (or partially) with the other person. So, when the other person does something that hurts you, it hurts you in the core. When they move, you have to break the cord if you don’t want to move with them. It’s a process that takes a lot of energy (trust me).
I learned only yesterday that we can be detached ánd be involved at the same time. It’s like what my psych says: I used to absorb things. I am/was subassertive. Which means my skin is completely transparent. On the opposite of the universe there are aggressive people, who let anyone and anything bounce of their skin. You could say these people have a hard time loving.
Assertive people on the other side decide per situation if they let in whatever is coming at them. Yesterday I got a comment on one of my pieces, I didn’t agree with him and my first reaction was to react very aggressive, because I am trying out different ways to respond then the subassertive way. It was only then that it struck me, that I could respond to his remark with my view in a friendly matter and leave it at that. No thoughts left in my head, no reasons to defend myself; this was me and he could take it or leave it.
You could argue that assertive people are detached, but detached people go much further (and I am far from that): they love without expectations. If another person hurts you, when life gives you lemons or when you loose someone who is dear to you, you love. You love the lessons learned, you love yourself to be able to protect yourself, you love the other because they act from their own perspective, you love the challenge. You stay friendly.
Forced happiness is not the real story, from forced happiness you don’t become a happy person, forced happiness makes you a bitch, mainly to yourself. Because life does give you lemons. Sooner or later. If you don’t allow yourself to feel that, to experience that, you deny yourself. You deny your own story.
(forgive me for not linking directly to creativity, I had to share this)