The other night she and I watched Hector and the Search for Happiness starring Simon Pegg. Hector, a psychiatrist who becomes disillusioned with his privileged clientele, decides to embark upon a research project to understand the roots of happiness. He makes many universally-observed insights on his journey including:
- Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money.
- Happiness often comes when least expected.
- Happiness is being with the people you love.
- The sun and sea make everyone happy.
- Happiness is doing a job you love.
There were many more. But one observation that gave me pause was this:
Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
I've always thought jealousy to be transparent. Kinda ugly. But if I'm being honest with myself, my inner chatter certainly isn't absent of comparison. Case in point:
- How can she tuck in her shirt without looking 3-months pregnant? The bitch!
- What's that smell in their house? Foreign, yet familiar. Oh yeah. It's the smell of clean. I bet they mop. Dust maybe.
- Your kid got recognized at school this quarter? Really? Well, so did mine. In a way. I actually received two calls from the principal this year.
- Their dog is so much cuter than ours. It even pukes cuter.
Oh my gosh. Now that I think about it, comparisons run through my head all of the time! Like when everyone else's food is devoured at a party, and I make my husband sick by forcing him to eat over half of my concoction. Or when someone is reliving their glory days as an athlete and the only thing I can think about is the swell time I had at piano camp. Maybe comparisons are inevitable! Methinks it's how serious you take them which can spoil your happiness. They can actually make you laugh–especially when you try to tuck in your shirt.
I'll end with one last, profound observation from Hector:
It's a mistake to think that happiness is a goal.
Often we hear, "I'll just be happy when such and such happens." But why be dependent on something to achieve happiness? Isn't it possible to be happy right now? Even if your homely dog pukes on the carpet! At least you have a dog! And chances are he'll still love you after you express your disgust from the mess. And who can't be happy about a clueless dog?