Why do I deserve happiness when there are other people in the world who don't have it?
February 22, 2008 6:32 AM Subscribe
Why do I deserve happiness when there are other people in the world who don't have it? I seriously need to know.
posted by anonymous to Religion & Philosophy (53 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love" and I just finished the book "Three Cups of Tea." The books are similar and also couldn't be more different. "Three Cups of Tea" is the story of Greg Mortenson, who traveled through Pakistan and Afghanistan creating schools and a better life for the people there and "Eat, Pray, Live" is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert, who traveled through Italy, India and Indonesia to create a better for life for ... herself.
I hated Eat, Pray, Live at first but today I realized why. It wasn't just that her act seemed supremely selfish when you contrast it to the acts of Greg Mortenson, but it was also because I was taught as a child that you thought of yourself last - after everyone else - and I mean, literally everyone else. I think I've been shocked at the audacity of Elizabeth Gilbert's desire for her own happiness - as if that was a horrible thing to want for yourself.
But the thing is, I really, really need some happiness for myself as well. I've had problems with depression my whole life and I've just come through a particularly rough patch that's left me bruised and beat up.
I don't believe you need to leave your home and travel the world, necessarily, to help other people or find your own happiness, but what can I tell myself to convince myself that I really do deserve some happiness? Whenever I start thinking that I do, I think about the people in Iraq, who are probably just happy to make it home from the market alive or other situations where my desire to be happy seems ludicrously indulgent. But my unhappiness doesn't solve those problems and makes me miserable. So what can I say to myself to convince myself that I deserve some happiness?