I think that the happiest person is probably the person who cares the least about what others think of them.



9 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. In doing some reading about the mind I learned that we are not born with a sense of self. We start off thinking we are still part of our mothers and as we watch the people in our lives, only slowly do we recognize them as people separate from ourselves. Ultimately it makes sense that we would understand ourselves through observations of others. Even if you somehow grew up isolated in the woods with no people around, you would still be constantly comparing yourself to the things you see and knowing what you are not and deriving your identity from that. At some point we may grow to realize that other people suck and that they don’t have much to offer us. But even that you had to learn from others at some point. For me I find that I can ignore what most people say about me, but the people that are important to me, what they think of me is always important. And the fact that they are friends and do think good things about me is a source of happiness I could not derive from just my own company. That being said, there are likely people who are happiest in solitude, maybe that is you. I don’t know. But I always question this notion to not care what other people think about you. Given our own self-worth bias it seems counter to growing as a person if all criticism is ignored. As I said for me it’s about taking the criticism from those I respect and care about which I find to be a good thing for long term happiness even if in the moment it stings.

    And just so you know, I think good things about you. Be happy…because I’m pretty awesome. 😉

    1. I didn’t even think about the opinions of people you care about, but that’s a valid point.

      I guess I meant this more in the spirit of “ignore the haters.”

      Constructive criticism should always be welcomed because, as you so aptly pointed out, it leads to growth.

      But thanks to social media and the internet and technology as a whole I think people are subjected to more and more needless, baseless, or hateful comparisons. We should always welcome a chance to grow and we should cherish the thoughts and opinions of those we care about. But we should also be comfortable in our own skin and with our own abilities, too.

      1. LOL…getting into the blogosphere has in some ways only made me more frustrated that the people I meet aren’t ones I can sit down and have a beer with for a more engaging discussion! You are definitely one of those people.

        Internet trolling is definitely big problem these days. Overtime I am just slowly learning to not read comments on articles because they are usually far too depressing and hateful. Best to just let somebody else fight that fight. I think some people like it. lol

  2. I did not take the ‘haters’ route, here, I took the ‘general masses’ route. Sure, I admit to caring about what those I care about think of me… I mean, I do hold them in high regards, so of course their opinions matter. but I have found your statement to be true.. for me anyway. The less I seem to care about people (or the haters), the happier my life becomes. Sure, I may look like a lunatic when I am sprawled out in the back yard, enjoying the feel of the grass, watching the clouds go by… my neighbors will attest to this. But it is fun, calming, and an overall great experience… little things, you know.

    I am a certified nutcase, and I love it. If crazy means doing things that make me happy (as long as no one gets harmed, of course) so what if people look at me as though I have a head jutting out of my neck singing opera.

    I tend to be of the mindset that people are wayyyyyyy to uptight for their own good anyhow. But who knows, maybe I am being the hater now and being all wound up and high strung is what makes them happy.

    Any which way, nice post. Me likey.


    1. They say there’s a fine line between insanity and genius.

      But in general I would say that there is certainly a spectrum of sociability. Some people need to be around others and are much more likely to need some form of external validation. Some people are content to be alone and therefore are much more likely to crave internal validation. I’m sure there are pros and cons to both ways of being.

      But as long as you’re happy, more power to you!

  3. From my experiences, as children it seems to matter more how we perceive what others might think. Getting through school is a mine field of social interaction that can make you or break you.

    As we move towards our 20’s many of the people we may have thought of as friends, for one reason or another have proven themselves unworthy of the moniker. They have to be culled.

    Then sooner or later you get a girl, have kids, and life turns into a luge ride, pretty much out of your control, you are along for the ride, trying as best you can to keep the ship afloat and the luge between the ditches. During this time a few more of those old friends fall by the wayside. Those people that were once important to us in some ways, just do not have the staying power to last.

    By the time I was 40, I had many aquaintences, but true friends I could count on one hand. These were the ones that stood the test of time with honesty, integrity, and well meaning intentions.

    I think over time we find our true selves. We know what we want from the world, and we have expectations of those that would be close to us. If you can’t meet those expectations, you get lost among the debris field. It no longer matters so much of how we see how others might think of us, but rather what we might think of them.

    1. I find myself agreeing with what you’re saying, mostly because the trajectory of my life is mirroring what you’ve laid out right here. It’s probably also why I find that my friends are typically much older than me–because they already know who they are, what they’re about, and what they want, and therefore don’t come with as much of the existential angst that my peers do.

      But I agree. I like to think that 28 year old Ryan has a much better grasp on who he is and how the world works than 18 year old Ryan. And I hope that 38 year old Ryan is even more grounded and confident.

  4. I definitely agree, and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m happy. I generally don’t care about what people think of me, and that helps me get past the negativity. But, as a Christian, I do care about what Jesus thinks about me, and that is what matters most 🙂

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