“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.” — Jane Austen
We start out in life screaming and adjusting to an alien environment before being bundled up and placed into the arms of the person who will look over us for next 18 years (or really until they die). During those years of maturation, there is the ever tedious and often times, frustrating and exhilarating ride of finding one’s center, one’s happiness.
It can become a maze of confusion for some to find their own happiness. Some people trying to find happiness by trying to please others or only themselves. Some people try to find happiness by drinking or drugging. Others find a happiness in hurting others.
There’s the positive way of dealing with life. There’s the negative way of dealing with life.
Some find one way more easier to commit to then the other. However, humans are not easily classified with such rigidity. Our behavior is better represented by a scale; while a vast majority will teeter in the positive range, sometimes those people will dip ever so lightly into the negative range or commit one plunge and recover. Hence, life requires perspective and the ability to not be eaten with pride or waylaid by prejudice.
Each of us is bound to commit a mistake at one point in our life. However, as George Bernard Shaw said,“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion
For good or for bad, we are all still human and share a majority of traits and emotions – one of which as Jane eloquently said is to: quickly find a reason for approving what we like or like to do. We act quickly to justify things and this happens very expediently by individuals that are unsure and need something to hold firmly to, who are without doubt and who want to justify things they know would not be condoned by others but still would persist in reasoning to persuade them otherwise. This all leads us to understand that be it by truth or by creative interpretation (sometime lying), we are all selfish.
Yet, don’t be fooled that selfishness always begets happiness. Nor be fooled that those that are selfish were always raised to be this way. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice makes a brilliant and honest confession:
I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit.
Reflecting back to my comments in the beginning and taking in the concepts of decision making (truth or creative interpretation) and action supporting such decisions, happiness cannot be relegated by principle nor can it become a shield of immorality. For while Carl Jung may have said a happy life could not exist with a measure of darkness, darkness is by no means what we should aspire to for it is a level that exists past selfishness – it’s self absorption and it is unchecked not tempered. While we are selfish creatures, the majority of us still have compunction to set us right.
Though we may err to selfishness with regards to happiness, sharing our happiness is where true happiness lies. This is something I think Darcy realizes upon being bombarded by Elizabeth’s pent up anger towards his impertinent confession and his pride. His dealings with Elizabeth and love for her humble him.
So, a further boiling down of the secrets of happiness reveals the importance of humility which breeds sensitivity. Most importantly, humility graces an individual with understanding and more knowledge which in turn allows them to look back at how you were and find humor in it.
Through happiness we grow but always remember – “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” Jonathan Safran Foer
I hope this makes sense. 🙂