No, I’m not going to start chanting and I’m not being rude about K (he’s lost weight thank you very much!). I’m starting my new 100 Daily Inspirational Thoughts book and I’m going to share a quote with you.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” (Buddha).
This has made me think, a lot. I’ve always been a bit wary of being overtly “happy”. I don’t know why or where this comes from, but as a child I was always worried about “showing off” and I think that I equated being outwardly, overly happy with being a show off. Look at me my life’s perfect and I’ve not a care in the world. Err. No one likes a show off. I’ve spoken before about my natural tendency towards pessimism and I think these go hand in hand. We’re not a family of braggers, we always downplayed any good fortune (can’t think of a specific occasion but we generally didn’t show off) and tried to be modest about achievements. But equally if someone asks any of us how we are we will all say “fine thanks” even if we feel like a dogs dinner. So, not overtly happy, happy but not miserable the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh either.
So, back to good old Buddha. He’s saying that it costs us nothing to share our happiness. It costs nothing to smile at someone in the street and say good morning. But is that what he means? Or is he saying that if you feel happy you should tell someone? For example, I get some good news about my job and I tell my friend. Would that make them happy? I suppose if they’re a good friend then they’d be happy for me, but does it make them happy themselves?
Or is it just a case of being happy and it rubbing off on people? Let’s face it no one likes a misery guts who’s always complaining about this and that or being negative about everything all the time (I refer you back to the Hawkins “I’m fine” blanket response to the “how are you?” question). Yes, we all have our moments and bad days affect even the most upbeat person, but being around an inherently negative person must be draining. Equally someone who is constantly perky and upbeat must be a bit tiring (tiresome?)
Happy medium. Middle ground. That’s what’s needed, isn’t it? Friends you can laugh until you cry with, be silly with and know that they won’t expect you to always be like that. Friends that can listen to you moan about the trivial (and sometimes more substantial) gripes and groans of your day and not hold it against you and think of you as a misery guts. Friends that can just smile at you and make you feel better even if you weren’t feeling bad in the first place.
And yes, maybe just smiling at someone randomly in the street. They’ll either think it’s nice and maybe try it themselves or they’ll think you’re a nutter and tell someone to make them laugh. Win, win.