Chanukah is a week and a half away (Dec.8-16,) Christmas less than a month away, and shopping has begun in earnest. I pause at this time to reflect on what happiness is all about and what do we do with life’s disappointments.
In this season of giving and receiving, it may seem that if we had as much material wealth as we desire, life would be wonderful, however this is not a reality nor is it true. Many lottery winners are much more unhappy and regret their win after a major lottery winning. See: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/07/lottery.winning.psychology/index.html Although there is a correlation to happiness level and household income up to a certain level (combined household income of $75,000 brings a greater sense of happiness, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), after that level, the happiness level tapers off. Moreover, lottery winners sometimes experience “high-profile misfortune” according to the article website link above.
Children are also not necessarily happy receiving their hearts desire of things or receiving whatever they want in the long run. Young children who have temper tantrums to get what they want are often more unhappy and unsettled, when continuously reaping the rewards of their tantrum efforts. The world may seem safer when we are not in control of everything.
The comforting knowledge that we are not in control is true for both children and adults. We may live with more peace when we accept the fact that we life is out of our control in some areas and we don’t always get what we want. We may choose our thoughts, choose our actions, and make life choices in a variety of areas in our life; but God, fate, karma, and random acts of nature can affect us at any moment.
Although happiness may be a choice of thought and perception, we live with more peace when we accept that we are not in total control. Moreover, I believe we learn how to deal with life disappointments as part of growing up. When children are rescued and do not learn to face disappointments in their early years, they will typically have a more difficult time overcoming disappointments as they mature. I believe those children who are rescued and their tantrums given into, often feel they are the source of power, and have a harder time accepting life’s disappointments later on, when they cannot be rescued or receive what they want.
So where does that leave us in this holiday season? I believe it should leave us feeling less stressed. We do not need to provide the “perfect” holiday for our children. We should not expect the perfect gift to receive. Nor should we expect to find or purchase the perfect gift to make everything wonderful for some loved one. We do choose our thoughts and our perceptions can create our happiness and unhappiness; so I’m hoping your holiday thoughts and perceptions create happiness for you.
Thank-you for reading.