Monday, November 04, 2013

Does Other People's Happiness Threaten You?

This is one of my ideas of happiness: reading a book, getting lost in webs of realities that great writers produce. 
To me, happiness is when you are content. Happiness is when others do not see you as a threat and leave you be, whenever you want to be alone. Happiness is when you can feel happy for others, even when you are not a part of it. Happiness is when others smile and congratulate you for being sunny, instead of belittling your joy.

 Never really thought about it. I am the type that can feel happy seeing people happy. Not once or twice, I am caught smiling wistfully watching somebody else who is clearly happy for no reason at all. Sometimes I see a couple staring at each other, holding hands. Once or twice I take notice of children, laughing, very carefree, while running in the field with their friends.

However, I have had my share of unfortunate encounter with people who like to ooze out negativity. Whenever I am happy, they like to utter comments (that perhaps they) intended to spoil my happiness. 

When I was small, I was happy because I got the perfect score of Indonesian. Somebody roller her eye and said, "It's not an important subject, anyway."

I remember, when I was a teenager. I have a new headpiece and I wore it proudly. Some asked why I was all smiles and I told them that Papa gave me the headpiece. One classmate of mine looked at me critically then exclaimed, "Don't you think it's a bit too childish?"

During my university years, I baked some brownies and gave them around. Many seemed to like it. But one looked at it critically and said, "Brownies make you fat."

When I was about to get married. My partner and I were so happy. We got along nicely and we were both ecstatic, we couldn't wait to get married. And then a distant relative said, "Ah, you shall see. When the wedding day becomes closer, you two will fight more and won't be so happy anymore." 

Spoilsports. They are everywhere. Sometimes I wonder, why can't you be happy when others are happy? Is it too much to ask?

I nearly forgot about this until tonight. We went out to have dinner and they have this kids' place where they can slide and climb stuff. It was deserted. So my kids went there and they were sooo happy. They laughed a lot and yelled while having fun. And then I started to see other kids joining, perhaps to find out what the fuss was all about. They didn't feel the same way, apparently, for they kept scowling. The other kids began to jostle them  and played it rough, until my daughter lost her smile a little. (Fortunately, my son remained OK and all smiles.)

Then it struck me. Could it be that your happiness somehow is threatening other people? Maybe some see you being so happy, on top of the world, and they feel miserable in return. Some say misery loves company, and some lack the compunction to hold their tongue, hence, the harsh words come out. And they have the potentials to hurt. 

This is just a theory of mine, based on what I've experienced and seen so far. How about you? Whenever you get something nice, be praised for something, do you meet people who comment negatively and ruin your mirth?

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