Trying to Contemplate Happiness in Many Ways
I’m always a person who strives to be a better person and to engage in self-improvement. God only knows that I have a long way before I achieve it, but every little steps count. As you can tell, every once in a while I’ll blog like mad and other times, I don’t feel the same motivation. In a way, I feel like I let down the theme of my blog whenever I can’t come up with something on-topic. Let’s be real, even if every single day I updated something on my blog about menstruation and did it for the next 10 years, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with it, but of course my brain hardly has the capacity to know that much about it. When I overburden my blog with personal posts, I feel as if I’m suffocating my period-related posts – ACK, what a dilemma.
There are times when I think back 20 years ago, when my family and I struggled (compared to today) to keep our bills paid, food on the table and roof over our head. How far we have came since then where we now have a house, car (cars at one point), luxury goods, money for entertainment, etc. yet I’m not quite sure whether our happiness has truly increased. I would dare say that when we didn’t have so much, life’s expectations seemed to be more easily fulfilled and as such, happiness seemed to be found easier. Back then, going to a beach with a ball and a picnic basket full of food seemed to me like as if I won the lottery. Now, it seems like happiness is harder to find because now we expect so-much-more to satisfy those same needs. Likewise, a McDonald’s fries was a luxury meal and now, even when I’m eating abalone (an expensive Asian delicacy), it makes me want something better. While I think it’s very normal to have goals and strive for things, do we not find happiness as easy to achieve as we “progress” in life and social status?
I really can’t remember who I found this off of, I think it was Poh Ching (only because she spams her Facebook wall regularly with stuff that I can’t even keep up), but it really made me think how we can be happy synthetically. This isn’t a matter of smiling and pretending you’re happy when you’re not, but it’s about accepting what we have as the “easier way out” and yet, still feeling happy with our choices in the end. It kind of made me laugh because I think if bebe just sucked it up and stuck it out with me long enough, she could synthetically be happy with me and in the end, be really happy since happiness and satisfaction itself can be fictitiously generated by our brains. It was an interesting thought and obviously a natural goal would be for her to truly, genuinely care for me like I do for her, but in the worst case scenario, synthetic happiness with me wouldn’t be a poor alternative given it develops into emotional and psychological happiness in time. You may be completely perplexed at what the hell i’m talking about, but it’ll make sense once you watch this. She may always think about whether she could’ve ended up with a better guy, but if she settled for me and her psychological immune system kicked in, she may realize I’m not that bad… HAHAHA:
http://www.ted.com Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that well be miserable if we dont get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things dont go as planned.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes — including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts. Watch the Top 10 TEDTalks on TED.com, at
Some random thoughts of the week…. Thursday we got a call from that friend I helped to study in Canada telling me that his parents will we leaving back to Hong Kong on Saturday and wanted to have another dinner with us. This time, they chose a Japanese all-you-can-eat place in our city’s downtown. I mean seriously, 4 buffets over a course of two weeks is a bit intense but sigh, can’t really reject when someone’s doing a pre-flight gathering. Of course I went nuts on the Sashimi and also because apparently that girl (refer to this post if you forgot and care) likes the same type of Japanese food as I do, it was awesome that we sat across from each other to split food since a lot of the other people didn’t dare eat the same stuff we did 😀
One thing I must say though, taking a bit of time to freshen yourself up and put on some decent clothes (it’s not about price, it’s about matching your look/style/enhancing assets/reducing flaws), that one can look really good. I remember when I met her the first time a few weeks ago, she wasn’t really that particular, but this time that she wore something that fit her well, she looked a lot better than last time. I think that’s the thing with girls – all it takes is a bit of maintenance (not even requiring make-up), and it really makes a huge difference. I guess it would be like the equivalent of a guy who normally has a clean shave and lets it grow for half a year and then he looks like he’s some bum off the street. She definitely had a nice look this time and there was no make-up on, which is nice because it’s not really necessary for naturally beautiful girls (like bebe :P) to look nice. As usual, I simply appreciate the girl’s beauty, but I’m not in love with her like I am with another special girl – I’m a good boy, see? 😆 One of those go-to-far-feminists will probably say, “We don’t have to look good just on the account of men!”… well true enough – but all I’m saying is that with some at-home maintenance before you go out, girls can look like a totally different person!
Today was nothing particularly exciting, but relaxing. We went out early morning to do the usual pulse-testing and get this weeks herbal. Still trying to tackle the oily scalp issue as that’s definitely the primary cause of my hair shedding. I will have to give it to her that my hair is thicker now at the top, but the receding hairline, sides and back are still a concern. However, I think with MPB, the typical loss is at the top which makes styling very hard when you have a huge gaping hole in your head. With hair on the top, it makes styling much easier as you can do a close shave along the back and sides, leaving only the top and if you have enough hair, it is simply a “style”. Even though I still see hair shedding and some thinning at the front, I’m trying to keep-my-cool and stay positive. I’m also trying to remember that I can be synthetically happy – “Losing hair isn’t that bad, I just have to change my haircut or shave it completely in the worst case!” … but the reality is that bebe has made me really self-conscious of my hair because she loves it so much. I try to generate that psychological immunity to believing it’s ok even if it happens but can’t get over the fact that I will disappoint her in the future. Maybe subconsciously it’s also why I’m trying to push the relationship along, so that she learns to love something concentrate about me, rather than the fuzz on my head. I do admit I love my hair and would save it if I could, but I also won’t die without it… however, I will probably die without bebe in my life because she’s important to me.
Anyways… back to a note of happiness, I was just going through Poh Ching’s blog as usual and found something directed at me!!! =O
Prexus, this post is for you!
You were right about the going out to meet people instead of wallowing in sadness alone at home!
It’s kind of nice to see that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life for once!
Normally when I reblog, I try to only do a snippet of it – but this is much too great to not honour the ENTIRE posting…
Couples in crisis often reach the point where they decide they are just two poorly matched people. This precedes the decision to leave the relationship and go in search of that “right person.” Unfortunately, the odds of a successful marriage go down for each attempt at a new marriage. Psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happy Families, Scott Haltzman, MD, says in truth, they are correct; we all married the wrong person. I found his comments from TV interviews so intriguing that I requested an interview with him to delve into the topic.Dr. Haltzman says even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love, which tends to minimize or ignore attributes that would make the relationship complicated or downright difficult. In addition, both individuals bring different expectations to the marriage, and we change individually and as a couple over time. No one gets a guarantee of marrying the right person, says Dr. Haltzman, so you should assume you married the wrong person. That doesn’t mean your marriage can’t be successful, however.
“Most of us spend a lot of time filtering through possible mates in hopes that we will end up with the right match. Some people believe it’s an issue of finding a soul mate … the one true partner. Whether or not you enter into marriage believing your partner is THE one, you certainly believe he or she is A right person for you,” says Dr. Haltzman.
He explains that if the success of a marriage were based on making the right choice, then those who carefully chose a good match would continue to sustain positive feelings the majority of the time, and over a long period. The theory would be proven correct that choosing well leads to success. “But the divorce rate in and of itself stands as a great testament to the fallacy of that theory,” says Dr. Haltzman. Even the couples who remain married don’t describe themselves as completely happy with each other, he adds, but rather committed to one another.
“If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Haltzman, adding that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction, he says.
Dr. Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction. A book called The Choice Paradox by Barry Schwartz shares research that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. (I will have another post about this topic soon, because there is much insight to glean.) I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential “right” partners. This may happen even after a person is married, as he or she questions the decision to marry with each bump in the road.
“My basic philosophy is we have to start with the premise when we choose our partner that we aren’t choosing with all the knowledge and information about them,” says Dr. Haltzman. “However, outside of the extreme scenarios of domestic violence, chronic substance abuse, or the inability to remain sexually faithful—which are good arguments for marrying the wrong person on a huge scale, and where it is unhealthy or unsafe to remain married—we need to say, ‘This is the person I chose, and I need to find a way to develop a sense of closeness with this person for who he or she really is and not how I fantasize them to be.’”
That choice to work on the relationship can lead to a more profound, meaningful experience together. Dr. Haltzman offers the following tips to help us reconnect or improve our bond:
- Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
- Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
- Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
- Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.
To underscore the last couple of points, Dr. Haltzman says many people will put only so much effort into a relationship, then say, “I’ve done enough.” But very few of us will do that with our children. “Instead, we say despite their flaws, we wouldn’t want anyone else; yet, our kids can be much more of a pain in the ass than our spouses.”
Finally, he advises, “Have the attitude that this is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, so you must find a way to make it work instead of always looking for the back door.”
via Marriage Gems
I highly encourage you to read the comments of the entry as there are some insights that are real eye-openers…
I think deeply about what I’m trying to accomplish in my relationship life… I really want bebe to love me for the person I am, by showing her who I am… it doesn’t mean I think I’m perfect enough to be EVERYTHING that she wants, but I can say that I’m at least good enough to provide what she needs in a relationship…
I look at what is encouraged of us..
Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
Absolutely… I will never say that I find absolutely 0 faults in who she is, but I feel she has many more positive qualities than I could even offset with negatives. We’re not perfect beings and I can certainly accept that there are things I may think whether I could tolerate in a life-long commitment, but I believe that with all the things I can love about her, I won’t even consider it being a deal-breaker.
Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
This is my goal because I can’t keep simply looking for love and simply change from one girl to another… it’s a matter of showing bebe that I’m the right person, not that just she’s right for me. What REALISTIC things does she desire from a guy and I’ll try to fulfill it.
Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
This I can already do… I haven’t given her and shown her all that I care for her, because I know it’ll be a while before I get the same affection in return. Nevertheless, just because I don’t receive, doesn’t mean I don’t give! The feeling of giving when you truly, deeply, madly (lol, song by Savage Garden…) care and love someone, you feel the need to show them, it’s not something humanly controllable – it simply is. She may wonder that albeit how she treats me why I can endure it, but because it’s an undeniable feeling of wanting to express myself regardless of whether there is gain for me.
Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.
This is a tough one when it comes to relationships because we’ll always want to put our own priorities and mentality first. I need to make improvements on this, because I want and need to be more considerate of her, yet still heeding to my own needs and happiness.
When I read the following excerpt, it almost shocked me to believe that what I feel to be true in our complex society, is not just something in my head and that there are those who professionally and scientifically, believe so…
Dr. Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction. […] I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential “right” partners. This may happen even after a person is married, as he or she questions the decision to marry with each bump in the road.
Thank you Poh Ching for allowing me to read such an amazing article… I always thought that, “I’m the only one who thinks like this…” – but the reality is that our happiness is right under our noses or that we want to believe there’s always something better when in turn, we may already own it. I am not blind to mine and bebe’s flaws… we both have them and to continually question ourselves if we can “always do better” is only sinking us into a whole and that’s why I’ve committed my soul and dedicated my years to come to chasing her until her heart will think of no other!
Life used to be so simple back when our parents were growing up… if you showed a person you loved them enough, they would love you in return – everlasting… now people want to “explore” so much they’ve lost the ability to feel emotions in return. People used to love realistically, now people love superficiality. We need to set our era’s back, because simple love, is the best and one true love.
Posted on September 12, 2010, in Personal and tagged Blog, Educational, Emotions, Facebook, Family Life, Girlfriend, Happiness, Interests, Love, Marriage, My Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationship, Respect, Savage Garden, TED, Thoughts, Youtube. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.