Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy is what we make it.

Believing In Myself

December 28

If we wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, which is always difficult, since we think them happier than they are. -Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu

How am I doing? We automatically ask ourselves that question many times a day. Always, of course, in relation to other people. How else could we make a judgement? Am I smarter? Younger? More successful? Richer? Better looking? And how about them? Are they more self-confident than I am? Luckier? Happier?

Yet the only way we can draw a conclusion is to imagine that we know about "them." Usually, we do not. Oftentimes we tend to overrate and exaggerate the quality of other people's lives. Because we're keenly aware of our own inadequacies, we may accord "them" most of the advantages we think we lack. (No doubt it would bowl them over to realize how happy they didn't know they were!)

What a relief it is when we arrive at the state where our self-esteem depends not at all on "them"-either what they think of us or what we think of them. Sure, the comparison questions are intriguing and fun to wonder about. Just as ling as the answers don't count for anything but idle entertainment.

Comparing my insides with other people's outsides makes for some wrong conclusions.

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