Happiness

I agree with the person that said, “What messes us up most in life is the unrealistic picture in our minds of how it’s supposed to be.

I think that has more to do with it than we realize because when things don’t go as planned, we see it as a failure. We obsess and internalize it. We’ve made a culture of separating the winners from the losers and success equals winning in our society… but success isn’t the same for everyone. After all, learning from our mistakes is what helps us progress – so why is failing so “bad”?.

Most of us have compared our careers, cars or houses to those who we see as inferior to us [maybe an ex or old high school rival] when the truth is, that person who lives in a shack but has a close, loving & supportive social network is probably 10 times happier than the rest of us. We’ve been conditioned to think the harder we work and the more bling we have, the happier we’ll be.

But then you realize it’s a type of happiness that’s fleeting – it doesn’t stay for very long.

POLITICS

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway are considered to have the happiest people in the world. They’ve carried that title for more than three decades, even with sky-high taxes and an equally high divorce rate. My family’s from Denmark so I was curious if it was due to genetics or the environment.

My conclusion? Norwegian countries have a wonderful system in place and there seems to be a strong sense of community which the United States no longer has. Children are well cared for. The lines that define traditional gender roles are blurred. Homelessness is almost unheard of. Domestic violence rates are small. These countries have generous welfare plans in place that take care of their citizens when times are difficult or when they have serious health issues. People don’t mind giving up half of their income to have that type of security or to help out their neighbor.

Okinawa was very similar and, yes, I was very happy there after we finally moved off the military base. The locals and my neighbors were welcoming. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, they were always there to help out. It was amazing and I’ve missed it every day since we left.

In the United States, what yours is mine and what’s mine is mine. Charity equals whipping out our Mastercards and making a donation to ease our inner demons. We fight and compete with each other and flaunt our new cars and gadgets for a false sense of self-esteem (I’m better than you!). Yet, we silently hope that we don’t get laid off from our job next month or  succumb to an ailment that puts us out of work. Even a divorce can take away everything you’ve worked for and put children in the middle of a legal battle, perpetuating the cycle for the next generation. We live in a constant state of selfishness and uncertainty.


MATRIARCHAL VS. PATRIARCHAL SOCIETIES

Patriarchy literally means “rule of fathers” or a system of government in which a supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person (father, chief, etc.) whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control. Patriarchy was not the natural order of our ancestors. It was initiated during times kings and emperors were in power and then perpetuated by popular religion – the same religions that regulated a person’s political and economic power based on the fairness of their skin color or their ancestry. Why are we still following the teachings and philosophies of people who have been proven wrong and have been dead for more than a millennium? We now know that the Earth isn’t flat and there are no Greek Gods flying around in the clouds, keeping tabs on us.

It’s ridiculous.

Just like the so-called nuclear family. One husband, one wife, 2 kids and a puppy. If that would have been the way of our ancestors, we would have died off a long time ago. Investing all your personal happiness, wealth and political power in a relationship of just two people where the failure rate is more than 50% is like investing a life savings into the stock of a company that just announced they might have to file bankruptcy next year. I’m not buying into this fairytale we call “the nuclear family” anymore. We are social creatures who once lived in large, extended-family communities to help each other out. When and why did that change?

I was surprised to find that matriarchal societies are not full of controlling, feminist, Amazonian-type women as our media portrays. Matriarchal societies are more egalitarian societies. The women live and work together to raise the children while the men live independently and act as big brothers or playmates to the kids. No division of household goods or high expectations means no major disappointments. These cultures believe in sharing with their neighbor and don’t embody the idea of a person being another person’s property; thus, marriage isn’t often practiced and the jealousy brought on by monogamous relationships is essentially non-existent.

Please tell me where I can sign up???

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