Music to my ears・耳に音楽

by | 2019-07-03 4:43am Asia/Tokyo

Music to my ears・耳に音楽

by 2019-07-03 4:43am Asia/Tokyo

Personal development material, old and new, deals with a central challenge facing everybody: happiness. How can we be happy? On Facebook, you might see pictures circulating that say things like, “True happiness comes from within.”

Has a more unhelpful truism ever been uttered?

The problem is the question. It’s too high-level. What is “happiness”? The mystery that exists in that one word is enough to make any equally high-level answer to the question totally unactionable. We can think at the level of “happiness”, but we live the level of “go here and do that.”

Wise people have come across a simple technique for finding happiness. People are typically unhappy because they can’t have the things they want. It’s hard to stop wanting. It’s part of what makes us human. How do we embrace our humanity yet find happiness?

The wise people say this: the first step to undoing the unhappiness is to observe our lives and ask: What do I have? Instead of focusing our attention on the things we want but don’t have, refocus on what we do have. Reconnect to the things we are taking for granted.

That’s what people call gratitude. Gratitude is a way to check in and stabilize our emotions. When our emotions are starting to take over, when stress and worry about the future start to overwhelm us, the best thing we can do is simply change our focus to the things closest to us.

Recently, I was experiencing a lot of irritation when I got home from work. I would be upset, seemingly for no reason, and avoid contact with others. I just wanted to be alone.

But, I knew I had to change. The first thing I did was begin fixing some problems in my environment. After I started getting my environment under control, I decided I needed to purposefully counteract my desire to be alone or “disconnect”. So, I made a new rule for myself:

When I get home, as soon as possible, I give my wife a kiss.

It’s been a successful technique for boosting my mood when I get home.

Then, a couple days ago when I got home, something happened. After I put my things down by my desk, I gave my wife a kiss before going to change my clothes. As always, she said, “Welcome home!”

Something about her beautiful voice echoed inside my head, like I had just heard music for the first time. I felt a deep sense of connection with her, and strangely, the world. I also felt proud for changing myself and creating that moment. While walking up the stairs, I almost cried.

There are a lot of things I want: a new camera, new lenses, new house, a new chair, etc. But, that’s okay. I’ll get those things. The good news is that I have something really important to me already.

They say true happiness comes from within. Maybe. But having someone to come home to and kiss everyday doesn’t hurt, either.

パーソナルデヴェロップメントの取材は古くても新しくても、みんなが向かっている挑戦について語る: 幸せ。私たちはどうやって幸せになれる?フェースブックでは、こういうことが書いてある写真をよく見る:「本物の幸せは中から」。