I enjoy making people happy. There is literally no better feeling in the world than doing something for someone and looking at them sincerely expressing gratitude. I don’t feel like I’m unique. I feel as if most people in the world have good intentions. We don’t typically do things for the sole purpose of upsetting others. I don’t even think that comes from an especially thoughtful place; (even though I DO feel like people are more thoughtful than we give them credit for) rather, it comes from the fact that people tend to use their energy making themselves feel good, rather than actively trying to make you feel bad. But, really think about that the next time someone does something that grinds your gears. Especially if the person is a loved one.
Before you go punch the lights out of the person who did something that you personally found inconvenient; realize, that it’s highly unlikely they did that just to spite you. We get upset about things because we feel personally wronged. But nine times out of ten, that is not the intention of the other person. And, in fact, if the person knew they could’ve avoided a (in the context of the universe) meaningless argument, they probably just would have done whatever you wanted. Yes, some people are less mindful than others. But, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.
This makes me think of something C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity that I think rings true whether you’re a Christian or not.
“But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons – either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it – money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness : you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness.”
I’m writing this because I felt wronged the other day and truly upset. I fail more often than not, but when I’m upset with someone I try to ask myself why I feel so frustrated. Typically, it’s because they did something that made life SLIGHTLY more difficult. My day was a little less convenient because of whatever thing they did. Now I’m upset. But my annoyance is MY problem not theirs. I’m trying very hard to always keep in mind that nobody can make me feel any certain way. I’m also trying to keep in mind that the things that annoy me on a day to day basis are typically not a big deal.
Let’s say someone leaves a piece of paper on my desk at work. I could see an improper response building up. These types of things happen all of the time. We’ve all heard things like, “What? Do you think this is YOUR desk?” or “Oh? So, you’re the only one who needs to use the toaster?” or “Why didn’t you invite me out to lunch or AT LEAST ask me what I wanted?” or “How many times do I have to tell you?” etc. But typically the answers are, “No, I’m sorry I just forgot…” “No, but it’s just taking me a minute. I’m sorry…” “Sorry, I was just hungry and left…” “I don’t know, just please help remind me…” People aren’t out to get you. Yes, some of the things people do happen because they forget that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. At the same time, sometimes we get upset because we feel like WE’RE the center of the universe.
Anyway, back to making people happy. I HATE when I do the things that upset people. I am guilty of staying too long in the bathroom, or spilling water on someone’s desk, or leaving my computer cord lying around. But, my desire is just to make people happy.
At the same time, maybe my need to make others happy makes them unhappy. If you’re like me, you try desperately to make everyone feel good, but you can’t. You fail them in some way shape or form and somehow you’ve made everyone upset rather than joyful.Which, in turn, makes you unhappy. And, I guess I’m just not sure what that balance is yet.
How do I go about it? I can’t clone myself (yet), so sometimes I am going to have to sleep or drop obligations, but deciding who has to wait is hard. One of my goals in life is to reduce the amount of suffering people have to feel. I wish to reduce my own suffering of course, but I also want to make YOU joyful as well. When I try too hard to make everyone happy, I end up hurting everyone. I haven’t figured out how to be ok with just not pleasing people sometimes.
Hm… I haven’t quite figured all of this out yet. But, I hope you’re happy today. And if not, maybe this puppy can make you smile.
– Brandon Holly –