difficult as it usually is to deal with unhappy people, I suppose
we need to thank them for the model that they give us:
"If you act the way that I do, then you're going to be just
as unhappy and miserable as I am. You're going to live your
life filling your own heart and mind and body with poison that
will take over all that you are and never allow yourself to be
free and truly happy."
role models are everywhere, and it's very sad to see them.
They spend their time trying to control others and outcomes
(especially children and spouses and the things that they do),
complaining about how unfair life is to them (even if their lives
are the result of their own actions and inactions), and even doing
their best to make other people miserable (misery does love
company--it's amazing how many of the old sayings are so true).
than let these people affect me in negative ways, I try to learn
from them so that I won't be as miserable as they are.
a very basic level, I learned a lot about this from smokers as I
grew up. Smoking did have its draw to me when I was young,
and I even tried it for a week or two when I was about
fifteen. But I had too many role models around me who taught
me about the long-term effects of smoking through the way that
they coughed for long periods of time every morning, through the
fact that they had to have oxygen tanks with them all the time
because of their emphysema, through the ways that they died of
lung cancer and suffered pretty horribly during the time before
also learned about happiness from the drinkers who would end up
getting drunk and then doing things that affected them for a long
time. They might have thought that they were "having
fun" and getting the most out of life by going out and
getting drunk, but I was pretty sure that they weren't enjoying
themselves when they were throwing up into the toilet or out on
the street. And how many people have driven drunk, only to
kill or injure others when they've caused crashes? There are
very valuable lessons to learn about our actions in such
also learned about what happiness isn't from the people who hold
on to resentment and anger for long periods of time, always
blaming others for everything bad that has happened to them.
Lost the job? It's the boss's fault--he's a jerk.
Divorced? It's the wife's fault, damn her. Crashed the
car? Those people at GM just don't know how to build a safe
vehicle. Kids don't talk to her anymore? It's the ex's
fault, and that stupid woman that he married. These people
spend so much time blaming others that not only do they not have
time to look at their own actions (for they usually wouldn't like
what they see), but they also don't have time
to look around and enjoy the world around them and get the most
out of the lives they've been given. And they hurt others,
too--another action that causes them even more pain, that they
then also blame on others.
have also been many lessons on happiness from the people I've met
who allow fear to rule their lives, who never take risks or try to
fulfill their dreams. Our society these days makes this very
simple to do--we're offered many outlets for passive
"enjoyment" of other people's achievements through
things like reality TV, movies, music, and other entertainment and
sports venues. It's a great day when my favorite record hits
number one or when my team moves into first place, but what have I
done today? If I base my fulfillment on other people's
actions and accomplishments, I'm pretty much bound to feel
frustrated and unfulfilled, though I'd probably never admit
it. It does show in my actions, though, in the ways that I
treat other people--especially when they dare to criticize my
favorite rock group or favorite hockey team.
on the flip side of this, I've met many, many people who spend
their time trying to encourage people to live their own lives and
to do their own things. When bad things happen, they accept
them and try to learn from them, but they don't look for a
scapegoat to blame them on. They don't try to control others
and convince others to see things their way, as if their whole
purpose for existence is to try to get others to agree with them
about the faults of others. They forgive themselves their
own transgressions, and thus are able to truly forgive
others. They go through life enjoying the experience, not
focusing on negative things that keep them from seeing the beauty
and wonder of the world.
the question is, of course, quite simple: which people are
to be my role models for how to live my life, and which people's
actions and attitudes will I learn from as lessons how not to live
my life? It really is up to me, isn't it? Especially
if I want to be happy and live a happy life.