From best to worst:
- Happy with Self; Happy with Others
- Happy with Self; Un-happy with Others
- Un-happy with Self; Happy with Others
- Un-happy with Self; Un-happy with Others
I am not satisfied when I'm in either state 2 or 3, and obviously unsatisfied in state 4. When in times of trouble, I find myself taking a look at this list and querying where I am. If I'm not in state 1 then there's something that needs to be done.
When in state 2, I read books. Why? Because people in books are interesting; there are characters that can be related to, and it's as if their minds can be doven into. Also, reading helps me gain knowledge, which helps with state 3. =)
When in state 3, I exercise. Why? Gets blood moving, makes the body feel good, which in turns shifts mental/emotional states. Also, just smile; bio-feedback!
When in state 4, well, there's some serious mental state shifting that needs to be done there!
Do you think I left out another state? Let's say we've got state X:
X. Others Happy with your Self
Kind of a simplistic way of looking at it, but if you include all kinds of gray "unhappy", that works well. Not sure if by un-happy with others, you mean ALL of them (sorta like society as a whole) or just a few people here and there.
State 2 is interesting, although it seems like you deal with it by taking fictional characters and superimposing them on the people you're unhappy with. It's (to me anyways) feels like how Jen used to psycho-analyze others in college.
State 4 is pretty damn low. I guess you would just have to divide it into 2 steps. First deal with yourself (State 3) and then after uplifting yourself, then deal with others (State 2). Easier said than done though, since you're probably crazy depressed in State 4 and want to just stay in bed all day.
What do I do? Truthfully I usually end up playing video games or sports for all cases. Being self-involved in these games helps take my mind off my problems and I find that just not thinking about it for some period of time is very beneficial for my mind. Maybe it's the adrenaline running through the veins, but everything seems a bit clearer after an involving activity.
Hehe I love the Irrelevant! comment. If only it was that easy for most people to not care what people think about you.
Along those lines, PBS is running this great series about CS Lewis and Freud and their relations to God.
And Lewis had this real struggle with what he called "Pride" and how destructive it was to spirituality. And I keep thinking on that. It is destructive as hell, keeps on at arms reach with their own vulnerablities and foibles. Things we should embrace. Anyways, good thoughts all around.
After posting, I had an idea that maybe the "Un-happy with Others" is vague. So, to help define it better: it means being un-happy with human beings in general; that is, being unsatisfied with people who are NOT your own Self.
Here's a few examples. Being un-happy with people because of the idea that the Self is better than them. Being un-happy with people because of the idea that they are stupid. Being un-happy with people because of the idea that all of them are boring and predictable. The list can go on. The goal is to make it so that you don't feel these ways and be able to appreciate humans for the interesting people they are.
About the comment on State 2, my goal in reading isn't necessarily to make up fake characteristics in people to satisfy myself. Instead, the goal is to remember that there are actually interesting people out there who are smart and witty.
Another good thing to do when stuck in State 2 may be to just go out and meet and talk to lots of different kinds of people. Doing this almost always helps me to realize (again) that people are fascinating and interesting.
I'm not saying this is some sort of structure of happiness. It's more like an evaluation sheet to see where you are when you're feeling down. From there, you can take the appropriate steps to correct the situation.
In response to Carol's post: spirituality may also hinder one's own ego. It ain't bad to have an ego, but it ain't good to have none.
Heh I got what you're saying now. From what I see though, if you're prone to thinking others are worse than Self because of stupidity, predictability, etc.., it's easy to frequently go between State 1 and 2. I mean, meeting interesting people will only linger in your mind so long before you run into the next moronic fool. Seems like after a long time of switching states, one would just eventually just get tired of the whole cycle and say "screw it" to everything and live in the mountains in a cave.
In my opinion, it's kind of a limited evaluation sheet though. I think there's plenty of times where you're just unhappy with specific others. Still, that was some good food for thought. I'd mod you up if there was some sort of point system in here. =P
I'm optimistic in thinking that every person that's worth anything has something of interest. If not, then that person's not worth time to be with; can't blame them for your unhappiness when you're the one putting yourself in that position to be there with them.
Viewing someone as a "moronic fool" is based on your own sense of perspective, which can be changed with your own volition. And even if that poohead does turn out to be a real moronic fool, then I think the right frame to be in is to feel bad for her because she doesn't know better.
It's not necessarily being unhappy about the person, more like, "Aww, it's too bad that this person doesn't know much about how to change lanes without endangering everyone around him."
I believe that being in the first state consistently is a reachable goal, and can be achieved with discipline (sounds kinda Buddhist, eh?).