Life Lessons May 2014 Part 1

Priority and Short Sightedness.  I have the idea in my mind that I must do what is optimal for everyone else’s happiness at all times, especially for friends and family. However, this makes friends feel like I’m overthinking and/or overworrying sometimes because I’m constantly thinking about them and evaluating them to know what to say. And if I say or do anything that they didn’t respond well to, suddenly I’m worried and I try to change my behavior and remember it for the future.  This is too much: There is an amount of respect you should have for someone and it is good to wish happiness upon them, but you shouldn’t completely stifle who you are. I have been starting to feel like I can’t be who I am around my friends because I am too conscious of what they are thinking and feeling and what they like and such.  Just be who you are.  When you OFFEND, THEN scale back according to who you are.  Prior to offending them, it’s OK to be yourself–people are accepting, and if not then they’ll talk to you about how you bothered them if they are mature and it’s worth their time to (which is the case if they’re your friend, and usually not the case if they’re strangers. So to improve yourself, make friends so that they can give you feedback).
However, the real problem is that I treat all events of happiness and unhappiness with equal priority: if I accidentally spill water on a friend I treat that as equal to accidentally discouraging and crushing their dreams with poorly chosen words.  They are not the same, and recognizing when it is important to scale back and when it is unnecessary is important: not spilling water is preferable but not a big deal, not crushing your friend’s self esteem is very important. Secondly, I am not looking at the bigger picture: a spilled water once in a while is a normal occurrence and won’t be remembered long term.  Consistently spilling water every day and then it’s a problem.  
Often, the solution is NOT to answer the question “Why am I unhappy” so much as it is “what can I do to be happy.”  Don’t spend too much time thinking about why you’re unhappy–if you can figure it out, great, fix it, but if you can’t don’t stress over it or get stuck pondering the question.  Just keep looking for and doing things that make you happy and then you will become happy.  Also, you can’t think clearly if you are in a bad emotional state, so seek first to improve your mood before thinking about why you are unhappy, because while you are unhappy you may be blind to what is actually making you unhappy, and it is only after you escape the situation and look back in hindsight that you can recognize what it was that made you unhappy.
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