Happiness: A Work in Progress… 2
December 31st, 2011
To understand happiness we have to explore our relationship with unhappiness. Like everybody else DG’s relationship with unhappiness began very early in childhood. Out of the womb into the world of new faces what does a baby know? Poo, pee and scream for feed poor mum runs crazy to quite this little bundle of joy that it no longer is. So begins the regime to regulate feeding hours thus will follow the changing times and so on. Did the baby like it? How could baby tell? Baby could not talk so began the campaign to teach her how to talk. Once parents succeed in this they want to display their feat to the world. My baby can say “mommy,” “daddy,” “chocolate and what not. It became baby’s job to make them proud and happy in the world of parents to complete the sentence “my dog is better than…” or else baby was being difficult and a bad baby.
Baby picked it early on the smile mommy gives depends on obeying the commands. The smart baby goes ahead and not only follows the commands but learns new tricks for treats (approval). Some tricks/behaviors especially those the baby used her brain to learn were detrimental to parental reputation and baby’s survival outside the home. First they taught her how to talk now she speaks the truth so they have to teach her how to shut up. Auntie is fat, uncle is not good, mommy said… Thus began the second campaign to teach the baby what is desirable and does not challenges the parental wisdom and authority. The “saam, daam, dand, bhed” (use all means- tricks, treats, spanking, grounding) were used to train and make the toddler an obedient doggie. Oh, this wicked baby came programmed with her creator’s secret code fixed deep within her soul and parents had a difficult task of decoding it or shutting the code off. This is child’s earliest encounter with happiness and unhappiness.
Lesson she learned was happiness of significant people in her life is in her hands and key to her happiness is with the significant people in her life and any other person she considers worth. So our happiness is actually mortgaged to others and each is carrying the burden of keeping the other happy. But the fact is nobody can make anyone happy if they decide to be unhappy. Do you recall the story of “sad princess,” a spoilt brat of a princess one time became silent and sad for years and she would not laugh. Her father, the king pledged half of his kingdom to anyone who could make her laugh. Thousands tried but she did not laugh and one day she laughed at a lousy freak show. Did it mean other shows weren’t good enough? It was a choice she made. May be she laughed when she understood the joke or she became tired of remaining silent and sad.
Truth is happiness because truth sets you free but all social energies are focused on declaring the truth a malady, an ailment in need of a cure or elimination. From early on children are taught how not to honor their inner voice, a voice kept there by their creator to keep them safe. Even a very young child knows who not to trust or get closer to but parents and caregivers negate child’s apprehension and make them vulnerable to abuse. It is true children need to be taught venturing out from the safety of homes and caregivers but they also need to trust their instincts. DG felt early in the courtship it wasn’t feeling right but her friends, family and media convinced her it is just a figment of her mind and she ought to take this risk. How is a person supposed to trust their instincts when there is no validation from those around them? But why did she need a validation? Because validation and approval was what she grew up for, when and where ever she used her instincts as a guide she got in trouble as it did not match the social conventions rather challenged the folk wisdom and authority.
That inner voice never dies the clutter we pile on it just makes it feeble. Reclaiming happiness is to de-clutter and start listening to that voice. The more you honor our body and its messages the more we get closer to happiness. This body we have was given to us at birth and will remain with us until our last breath but we chose to trust everyone else who’ll leave us at anytime unannounced. Why are they more important than our body that it has to yell, scream and fall sick for our attention? In previous post DG mentioned how her hormones went haywire. Connect with your body and its messages you’ll discover “YOU” and it will lead you to the path of happiness. If your spouse is being an idiot your body will tell you don’t fight it or try to justify his/her bad behavior just accept the truth. If in-laws are monster-in-law then accept it don’t try to win in a game they invented. If your parents and siblings are energy drain and drama junkies don’t deny it accept it and protect yourself from energy suckers. If your DIL or SonIL are difficult just give yourself a timeline how much time you want to spend in their company.
Happiness is a choice. Gone are the days when marriages were means of survival for women and they had to take all the nonsense or else they had to kill themselves (this sentence is directed towards GGTS readers- middle class, highly educated and gainfully employed women; DG is very much aware of hardships of abused married women who have no recourse as she was one of them). No matter what the circumstances there is always a way out if we become still and listen to our body and our inner voice. When we acknowledge worldly chaos and accept it as truth that is when we get lost in unhappiness. DG has lived in homeless shelters, faced hunger, bore social stigmatization, isolation, self doubt and what not but she always had one thing clear in her head no matter what she was created out of kindness for happiness and she’ll achieve it.
Just consider what is important for you happiness or winning medals of social approval? The day DG decided “if you don’t pay my rent and bills then what you think about me don’t matter” half her troubles were gone and the other half is constant work on SELF.
This is a short post and yes, it did cut corners because DG wanted to honor her word that she’ll post before the year end. She is moving on New Year’s Day so she’ll be little busy in coming week or so. But she promises she’ll share her journey in coming weeks and months. Please follow the links carefully because each link documents her journey on this path.
Experience is not what happened to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.