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Going back to this idea of happiness...

ashley's picture

While we have moved away from the topic of whether or not we as individuals are able to control our own happiness and our own emotions, I wanted to bring it back for a brief movement since I recently had a relevant experience. A couple of days ago I had discussed with my parents that I wanted to participate in buzzing for change once again. They were, and continue to be, in strong opposition. Last year I had chopped it off, and even that was not suitable to them. This year I plan to buzz for the cause, which I should have known would not be an idea greeted with open arms. They were upset that I did not seem to be backing down from my stance. They made some arguments against the situation claiming that I would look like a man, they simply don't want me to do it, and that the only reason why I wanted to do it was because I wanted to get under their skin. What the situation boiled down to for them was that I was being rebellious. Their reaction of course affected me, I've always wanted to please my parents and I dislike doing anything to upset them. I struggled with this for some days, having an internal battle once again over being complacent and abiding by what my parents wanted or standing up for what was important to me.

During those days I was very pensive and not my jolly old self. My partner and I had many discussions over it, as well as over the fact that I find myself stuck in this predicament time and time again with my parents. Something that I learned out of our many conversations was that I could not let their reactions keep affecting me the way they had been up to date. I am responsible for my emotions and they are responsible for theirs. I can't keep stressing myself out with trying to please them at every turn because it is inevitable that they will disagree with me at times, we are only human. I think the only thing I CAN do is be respectful of them and present my ideas, my plans, my goals, etc to them and from there I cannot control how they will react. If they become upset, I cannot let that bring me down as well. It is much too taxing.

Underlying all of this is that I am responsible for my happiness and they responsible for theirs; we are in control of how we react to things and how we let others' reactions affect us. We can agree to disagree. If they choose to react negatively then they are the ones who will be living with the negative emotions, they do not have to transfer over to me. This is a really hard lesson for me to learn because they ARE my parents and I wish I could do nothing but put a smile on their face and make them proud. But over time I've come to see that for my own sanity, the aforementioned illuminating revelation is what I must continue to remind myself of so that I may remain jolly. I like jolly and would much rather be in such a state than in tears over living a life that restricts me of my individuality. I can choose to let their reactions affect me or not. In that sense I will be in control of my happiness.


Roy Nelson's picture

A good lesson learnt...

Perhaps you should try and teach your parents the same lesson... (I try and teach my children this... not lead their lives to their projected perception of other eyes... but to be true to themselves but at the same time not hurt others) but I would say "remind" is not an apt word... practise, practise it is practical tool... happiness is also not be all and end all you need sadness too... because without sadness you cannot have happiness and happiness needs to be appreciated... sadness also does not equate to unhappiness... happiness is also not jollyness but more a state of "joie de vivre" in awe of life and the people who consititute our world good AND bad...

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