What is worth your happiness?
Note that I’m not asking, what is your happiness worth? That may be another blog post for another time. But I was asked by a friend to write on this topic, so here goes…
Mulling over this question led me to think about times where I have more or less sacrificed my own happiness for the sake of someone else’s or in an effort to “keep the peace.”
To be clear, my definition of sacrificing one’s happiness is the act, whether consciously or not, of subjecting oneself to negative or harmful situations over which one has some (even the slightest) degree of control.
As I thought about it, I realised that there have been too many times where I have sacrificed my own happiness for the sake of someone else’s. I am sure I am not alone in this regard, and that many, if not all, of you reading this post can relate.
I feel it is prudent that I also mention the things which I do NOT consider to be sacrificing my happiness. I have a son, and sometimes I have to make sacrifices where my own comfort is concerned for his sake. Whilst my comfort may be affected, my happiness is not. Because that sacrifice is born purely out of love and its purpose is to improve or edify his life in some way. Just the knowledge that I am somehow improving his life experience makes me happy. So no, that would not be considered a sacrifice of my happiness.
I know that by now someone out there is asking, “Well, what about compromise? Surely that should not be considered a sacrifice of one’s happiness!” I agree. But we often tend to run into a grey area insofar as the idea of compromise is concerned. We feel that good human beings should compromise, yet where is the threshold for when compromise becomes doormatism (I just made that word up. Look for it in your Oxford in 2020)? I don’t have the answer, but my personal guideline is that 1. when it stops feeling like I’m being met halfway and 2. when it feels more disheartening than encouraging, then I have left the realm of compromise.
Too many of us when we find ourselves in less than ideal situations are so afraid of things getting worse, instead of better, if we extricate ourselves from said situations. In that moment we may be so blind to the possibility of true joy outside of our present sad situation. So what do we do? We make ourselves “comfortable” and “live with it” telling ourselves that we can’t do any better. Lying to oneself in this manner is a surefire way to ensure true happiness is not realised.
As a general rule, if the sacrifice you are making does not now and/or will not in the future give you a sense of peace, joy or comfort, then you are sacrificing your happiness.
If the actions that you take (or don’t take) are solely to appease another whilst leaving you feeling genuinely empty, unsure, discomfited, or just downright sad, then yes, you are sacrificing your happiness.
Doing things for others is great, but the feeling that should come out of it ought to be a sense of joy and fulfillment. If ever, even as a fleeting thought, you feel taken for granted, used or disregarded, then there is truth in those feelings and you should listen to them.
Taking all I have said into consideration, the answer to my original question is: Nothing.
Nothing is worth your happiness. Your happiness should be the one intangible, invaluable possession that no one is allowed to take from you. At the end of it, who on this earth is responsible for your own happiness but you? Who should you count on to ensure your happiness? YOU. Giving up your own happiness will never make an unhappy person happy, and it will never make a bad situation better. Therefore, no one, no situation, NOTHING is worth your own happiness.
I want to thank my friend for suggesting that I write this post, because it has encouraged me and I truly hope it encourages others as well. Feel free to come back and read it as often as you need to…I know I will!