The Happiness of Others
YOU are not responsible for the Happiness of another person.
However, there is a lot you can do to influence the people around you – either for good or for evil.
This is literally the most power we have in this earthly existence.
Think about that for a moment…
We have the power to make someone smile or to ruin someone’s day. We have the power to cheer someone up or make them cry.
But this power is most effective on people who care what we think. You can’t make the tough antisocial guy who takes the last gas station hot dog feel bad for your starving ass no matter how perfectly you replicate puppy dog eyes. He doesn’t give a shit. So you are powerless against him in that moment.
Women are great at using this power against their man. We really truly care what our woman thinks, so we allow them to have this power over us. It’s not always a healthy thing to do, but we’ll cover that in a future blog.
Today we are going to focus on the power to cheer someone up.
Again, we are not responsible for someone else’s happiness. But, if we have the power to help someone and we choose not to, that kinda makes us a douche.
So in order to separate the power from the obligation to use it, let’s put things into perspective.
Have you ever had a friend that was negative? Every time you’re around them, you know eventually the conversation will end up on a rant complaining about something. Work, traffic, the government, their family. Something.
Oh, you’ve tried in the past to steer the conversation towards happier things, but in the end you realize that Senior Negativo is bent on complaining and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
Perhaps you’ve made several suggestions on how to solve whatever “problem” they seem so upset about, but they deflect your ideas and have a counter for all your good suggestions.
This is a person who wants to be miserable in that moment. By listening to them and letting them go on and on about their complaint, you are letting them influence you. There is only so much deflection you can do before you start to feel their burden and pretty soon your feelings are turning negative too – at least about the subject they are complaining about.
It’s important to quickly assess and decide if it’s even possible to cheer this person up. If you think that allowing them to vent is providing a service to them, you are dead wrong. They can vent to the wall or a dog or the dryer and get a better result. By venting to you, and you listening and sympathizing, you are reinforcing their negative feelings about whatever they are upset about.
The best thing you can do for this person is cut the conversation short and move on. This will preserve your emotions and take away the sympathetic ear that is feeding their negativity.
What about a situation where someone is genuinely down about something – a health issue, a death, job loss, a setback in life – what can you do for them? Is it appropriate to avoid them?
Don’t be THAT person.
The best thing you can do for someone who is down or troubled is to be cheerful and happy when you are around them. Not in an ignorant, self-centered rub-it-in-their-face kind of way. But in an appropriate way for the circumstance.
Be deeply empathetic to what they are going through and in that moment, be a ray of sunshine or laughter for them. Give them a reminder that there is more to life than what they are going through at that moment in time.
It takes practice and deep compassion to do it right and not come off as an arrogant, uncaring person. But when you get it right, the results are all positive.
When you look back over some of the hardest times in your life, who around you made you feel better?
Was it the person who doubled down on the negativity of the situation?
Or was it the person who successfully cheered you up a bit and took your mind away from the problem, even just for a few moments?
Be THAT person.