Monday, October 15, 2012

Ungrateful People Aren't Happy People

I was talking to a friend about happiness. I told him what I’ve recently shared here that happiness is not the absence of problems but happiness is problems you can handle. There will always be problems, waiting for a problem-free time in your life means you will spend the majority of your life waiting to be happy … and that’s just sad.

In relationships, problems translate into baggage. All of us have baggage, however, the right person for you, among other attributes, has baggage that you are comfortable carrying and they are equally comfortable carrying yours. I have absolutely no problems dating a workaholic. However, I have friends who simply aren’t willing to carry that bag. And so it goes.

I think you can be happy (or at least have the possibility of happiness) if you have problems you can handle and you have a sense of gratitude and appreciation. If you can be satisfied with what and who you have in your life, you can be happy. If you are someone who is chronically dissatisfied and always looking for something more, different or better, you won’t be happy. Again, you’ll be playing the waiting game.

Just like you will always have problems, there will always be someone who is better looking, more talented, makes more money than you, lives in a better house than you or uses a better smartphone. Don’t let that stop you from being happy. You cannot keep up with the Joneses. For one, they don’t exist. Secondly, if they did they would always have more than you because that’s the nature of the Joneses. Chasing them is a waste of time.

Instead of worrying about what someone else has, be grateful for what you do have. A lot of people have problems with gratitude and being satisfied with what they have because they feel it breeds complacency. After all, if you are happy with what you have, then you wouldn’t want more, would you?

Gratitude doesn’t have a direct effect on motivation. If you are grateful and appreciate with what you have, you are not carrying that extra burden of frustration that accompanies dissatisfaction. It doesn’t mean you don’t want more. In fact, I believe that you are in a better place to move ahead if you aren’t saddled by the mental drains of dissatisfaction and frustration.

By the way, if you want to read a good book about happiness, read Happiness is a Serious Problem by Dennis Prager.

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