Being happy for others... Part II

This is a follow up post to the one the other day on how it was a bit of a struggle to 'be happy for others' who were enjoying success. Having written that piece it then formed part of a meditation / reflection I had a day or two after. This revealed further thoughts about this 'being happy for others' that had been omitted from the last blog.

This was also partially inspired by a podcast I was encouraged to listen to by Nikki Pepper which was about 'Anxiety and Depression' with Johann Hari and Dr Rangan Chatterjee (2 hours but well worth it).

On deeper reflection I think when I am struggling to 'be happy' for others it is more to do with the intent or motive behind the success. If the motive is to 'be better' than others, to somehow be superior and 'show off' then this is where my difficulties begin to arise.

This came up in the podcast, what Johann called 'Junk Values'; Money love, Materialism, Popularity or fame. Much of society is now embroiled in extolling these virtues and the pursuit of them. So much so, just check out advertising as an example (also covered in the podcast). Adverts aimed to make us feel superior with this or that product, somehow, wanting, or inferior without. Reality TV Programmes feeding those addicted to being famous, if only for a short time, legend in our own lunchtime territory. We have a never ending stream of things to spend our plentiful money on, or, if no money, things that we must have NOW and are worth getting into debt over as we struggle to keep up with our friends progress.

I've spoke of it before, comparison, this is the silent killer. It goes on remorselessly in schools and these junk values pervade the air. Kids now only feeling their worth amongst their peers if they have the latest designer shoes, in vogue fashion styles, and top of the range phones. The teenage years is where much of the damage is done...

Back to the point of this blog, I am not comfortable supporting someone's greed, someone's desire to belittle others. Nor am I prepared to be happy to cheer on the concept that having more 'stuff' or being more 'popular' makes you somehow different and superior in some way.

A big problem in the world today...

As the podcast above illuminates, there is more than a coincidence between the gradual rise of Anxiety & Depression with the gradual disintegration of our communities. We didn't even notice it was happening. It began right back in the 1970's when Maggie mooted that we don't really need strong community so long as we have strong independent individuals and are balancing the books.

But as the decades have rolled by, the flaw in this thinking has been highlighted. Human beings have made wonderful progress over the millennia because they work effectively and well together, collaborating and co-creating as teams (tribes)... not alone and as individuals.

The very essence of what it is 'to be human' is being challenged by the way we are being taught to live in our society today. Everyone for themselves, compare relentlessly, and unless you measure up to the junk values were being sold, then you are a useless failure.

Humans are tribal

Buried deep in our psyche we have a need to be part of something, to belong, to have value, to be able to make a contribution... why?  because it gives our life meaning!!  If you just think about it for a minute... I spoke about this in the previous blog too... how would life be with no close friends, no one to share your thoughts with, or your passions, and where no one cared if you were even there or not? ... what kind of existence would that be? ... I think you would agree pretty depressing and full of anxiety.

And this is exactly what society is turning out to be! Isolated individuals, who retreat into their own lonely world and have little meaning in their lives. To be absolutely honest I don't even think they know it is happening to them, it's just a progressive slippery slope. It is no wonder we need pills (prescribed and otherwise), drugs, alcohol to survive. We are no longer at the mercy of ferocious predators; rather the slow painful death of 'not worthy'. What is the point of living?  With new statistics of 1 in 4 people having mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression), and rising numbers of suicides in young, and middle aged people, isn't it now quite clear what the issue is?  ... let's just see that number again... 25% ... 1 in 4 people in our society are suffering from mental health issues... isn't that just staggering?

What is wrong with you?

This is the question we've been asking... what are your symptoms? ... let's give you something for those... and perhaps those symptoms disappear for a short while. Then of course because the underlying cause hasn't gone away or changed, back comes the symptoms... until very often the person reaches a dangerous state of dependency on chemicals.

The real question should be "what is missing in your life?" ... it is almost always, connection, self worth, and meaning in their lives. This can all be relieved by bringing people together in small groups to work together on some project or other.

Each person would now have people to talk to, connect with, get up in the morning to meet with... each person has a job to do that provides self worth, they are part of something which is both important and useful, giving their days, and their life meaning. When we begin to care about something or someone we are giving of ourselves, and through giving we are receiving back as well...

Being happy for others...

Did we just wildly wander of course? It might have seemed like it but actually no. My issue with "being happy for others" is because often that opportunity comes my way smack bang in the middle of the junk values zone, and it is these very "junk values" that I am fiercely opposed to.

So in following my own sub-conscious thoughts the reason why it irks me to join in the happy party with others is often because I think it's self congratulatory for all the wrong reasons.

If I see someone like Rangan Chatterjee experiencing success I willingly support and promote the good work that he is doing. Millions could do with hearing the wisdom being brought to light  through himself and his guests. The reason he is popular and his books, podcasts are successful is not because success, money and fame were the primary mission... it was to bring clear and relevant information to those that sought it and need it... and by getting that right, the rest followed kind of by default and with humility... I think that's what ticks the boxes for me.


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